Ryan Fredette says he had a simple mindset heading into the New England wrestling championships.

“I wasn’t going to leave there without a first-place plaque,” he said.

The Winslow senior brought home the hardware, winning not only the 182-pound individual title but also the tournament Outstanding Wrestler Award. Fredette tore through the competition, winning four matches, including pins over the Massachusetts top-seed in the semifinals and Rhode Island’s top-seed in the finals.

For his outstanding performance, Ryan Fredette is the Morning Sentinel Wrestler of the Year.

Fredette grew up around a wrestling mat and started competing at 5 years old. His father, Kevin, coached at the youth, middle school and high school levels.

During his high school career, he won four Class B state titles and was a New England runner-up last season. He was rarely challenged by a Maine wrestler this season, pinning his way through conference, regional and state championship tournaments. Many of his opponents simply tried to play defense and keep the score close.

“Honestly, it was crazy-hard to overcome the lack of competition in Maine, but there really wasn’t anything I could do,” Fredette said. “I just had to practice hard.”

Having some Winslow wrestling alumni, including cousin Luke Fredette, come into the practice room occasionally helped.

Fredette actually found the higher level of competition and the aggressiveness of his opponents at New England tournament played to his strength.

“It definitely helped,” he said. “I like to induce a scramble with my defense so those opponents not backing away definitely helped a lot.”

Scrambling — in wrestling jargon — is the ability to take a situation in which the opponent is close to scoring and turn it into an advantageous situation.

“He has the ability to score from any position,” Luke Fredette said. “He’s very comfortable in a scramble situation.”

Class A state champion Nic Mills of Cony worked out with Fredette in the weeks leading up to New Englands. Mills said wrestling Fredette was a tough task.

“Wrestling Ryan is tough because he is so knowledgeable about the sport and it seems to be nearly impossible to get him into a bad position,” Mills said. “Even if you do, he always seems to end up in control.”

Second year Winslow coach Tony Delisio said he has seen tremendous growth in his star wrestler.

“I saw that he had a great foundation of skill and genetic capacity two years ago, but I have seen him grow into someone who is better able to capitalize on opponents’ mistakes,” Delisio said. “He is now able to find narrow windows of opportunities that most high school wrestlers are unable to at this stage of development. Specifically, he has found ways to control his energy output and become more efficient with his attacks.”

Delisio says he’s been contacted by several schools, including some Division I programs, about Fredette, who has previously said he wants to attend the University of Maine in the fall.

“My college plans haven’t changed yet, but I have a few visits set up with some really good schools that I think I would enjoy going to,” Fredette said.

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