WINSLOW — Ryan Fredette has a lasting memory from three years ago, when he was a freshman on the state champion Winslow High School football team.

The Black Raiders had gotten their Class C championship rings, and Fredette wanted more. His father, Kevin, offered a deal.

“He told me if I got four for wrestling, he’d give me a ring,” Fredette said. “So it’s been a goal for a long time.”

It’s a goal that Fredette is now on the verge of accomplishing. Winslow’s 182-pound standout is a three-time state champion, and an undefeated favorite in Class B once again with the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference tournament ahead this weekend. Regional and state championships are due up in the following weeks.

“That’d be huge,” Fredette said about adding another title, which would make him the school’s first four-time state champion. “That’s a dream of mine.”

He’s not the only Black Raider with big aspirations heading into the trio of tournaments. Devon Vigue is chasing a second straight title and third in four years, this time at 132 pounds after winning last year at 120 and as a freshman at 113.

“I think that’d be great. I’d be really happy with that,” he said. “I think I’m pretty close to where I need to be. I might have to do a little more working out, but other than that, I should be good.”

They’ve had similar roads to this point in their careers. Wrestling has been in the Fredette family for generations, going back to the very first Winslow team in 1960, when Ryan’s grandfather Randy won a state championship. His uncles have all wrestled since then, as did his father, his cousins and his brother, Ben, who graduated in 2010.

From childhood on, every meet, Ryan watched in the stands, waiting for his turn to add to the family legacy.

“It’s definitely a tradition thing. I’ve been to every meet here since I was eight,” he said. “It’s kind of a family thing, more than the sport itself.”

Fredette had the passion. He also had the talent. He realized it in seventh grade, when he went to a national tournament in New York and placed fourth, earning All-American status before he even got to high school.

“I think that was the first time I really figured out I was good,” he said.

Family also played a role in helping Vigue to his state championship status. His brother, Dustin, wrestled for the Black Raiders, as did his sister, Kayla.

Devon caught the wrestling bug in first grade. In his older brother and sister, he had influences and mentors — as well as ideal grappling partners.

“During the weekends I used to wrestle my brother in the kitchen or on the mat or whatever,” Devon said. “It was pretty great. He’s a lot stronger than me, though.”

Coach Tony Dalisio said the family influence on the two has always been clear. He had to teach the basics to many of his wrestlers. He could leave Fredette and Vigue alone.

“They’ve had a very solid foundation here at Winslow, starting from when they were in youth building up,” he said. “I’m just trying to do a tiny bit of molding, keep them on the right path. But it’s been their history and their foundation more than anything.”

On the mat, however, the two have taken different approaches to turn themselves into champions.

“They’re on opposite ends of the spectrum. Ryan’s an attack-style wrestler, he gets after it on his feet and tries to score early and often,” he said. “Devon takes his time. He’s an intellectual wrestler, he picks his places, he doesn’t go too hard. He knows how to be efficient with his energy stores.”

Fredette said he’s worked hard to add technical proficiency to complement that aggressive mentality.

“Definitely, my technique has gotten much better over the years. I’ve gotten a lot more smooth in my shots, I never even took shots my freshman year,” he said. “Looking back, I’m watching videos and stuff from freshman and sophomore year. I didn’t know how I won state championships those years.”

Vigue has had to deal with changing weight classes, but said his advantages over his opponents have been the same throughout.

“I’m a little bit stronger for my weight class than they are,” he said. “I’m pretty fast when it comes to scrambling, so that helps. Then muscling out of moves, it works to my favor.”

It almost always works out for both wrestlers. And when they come off the mat, Dalisio knows he doesn’t have to tell them too much.

“It’s definitely more hands-off on game day. They’ve been wrestling since they were six years old or whatever it was,” he said. “They know what to do. You don’t need to get into their head too much.”

Besides, they have their families ready with advice as well.

“That foundation that they got when they were little seems to have sustained itself all the way through,” Dalisio said. “Even when they come off the mat, maybe I’m talking to them a little, but so are their parents, their brothers, their cousins, even their sisters. It’s a support system more than anything.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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