Skowhegan’s Cody Craig won a coveted championship title while Winslow’s Ryan Fredette fell just short at the New England Interscholastic Wrestling Championships last weekend. Craig placed second in the same 106-pound weight class last year and was seen as the man to beat. His march to the title didn’t go as smoothly as expected, however.

In his opening match Friday afternoon against Kyle Randall of Massachusetts, Craig earned a 6-3 decision, but didn’t feel like he performed at his best.

“It was a slow start,” Craig said. “I was nervous, even doubting myself a little.” The Friday night arrival of Cody’s brother Tyler, who wrestles for the United States Merchant Marine Academy in New York, helped get him back on track. “He talked some sense into me,” said Cody Craig. “He’s my voice of reason some times. After that, and warming up with him Saturday morning, I felt a way I haven’t felt in months. Everything flowed really well and I was on my game and I was extremely confident. I didn’t fear “losing” throughout the tournament. I just sort of was thinking ‘I can do better than this.'” On Saturday, Craig advanced to the championship finals on the strength of a 7-1 decision against Connecticut’s Chris Trelli and a 9-1 major decision over Rhode Island’s top seed, Andrew Fallon. Fallon and Trelli finished third and fourth respectively. Craig earned his crown with a 3-1 decision over Connecticut top-seed, Ryan Jack. Craig scored a first period takedown with a fireman’s carry to take a 2-0 lead, followed by a one-point escape in the second period. Craig gave up a third period escape to Jack and then kept a solid defense to gain the win. “Winning this tournament is basically everything I’ve dreamed of since middle school,” Craig said. While Craig’s finals appearance was expected, Fredette (182) turned some heads with his tournament performance.

Fredette, a junior, opened the tournament with a pin over Massachusett’s Wilfredo David, followed by a 12-3 major decision against Connecticut’s David Wyzykowski. Fredette knocked off Massachusett’s top-seed Darius Franklin by a 10-5 decision in the semifinals to advance to the championship finals. Fredette would come up just short in a see-saw championship match against New Hampshire’s George Tarwo, dropping an 8-6 decision. The match was named the Outstanding Finals Bout for the tournament. Fredette is already looking to the future.

“It’s difficult not to be happy with a second-place finish at the New England championships,” he said. “But, first place is my true goal and I’m going to have to work harder this off-season to be on top next year. As a senior next year with additional strength, maturity, discipline, and skill, hopefully first place will be mine.” Winslow coach Tony Dalisio sees great things ahead for Fredette.

“Ryan wrestled with incredible poise, focus, and effort all weekend,” Dalisio said. “He was 50-1 this year and still has room to improve. Thus, it is safe to say that his trajectory should give him another great chance at winning this tournament in 2018.” Skowhegan finished in 11th place overall in the team race. Samson Sirois gained All-New England status with a fourth-place finish in the 132-pound class. The junior won three matches during the tournament. Ricky Oberg also added to the team point total by winning one match.

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