His team’s performance last Saturday couldn’t have been much better. So what becomes the focus for Erick Jensen and the Mt. Ararat/Brunswick wrestling team as the calendar shifts to the regional tournaments?

The Eagles’ coach made it simple. Just keep it rolling.

“You want to keep improving every week, so we want to build on what we did at the KVACs and continue that success in the regionals,” Jensen said. “We don’t want to have a letdown. That being said, the ultimate prize is a state title and the following week, but as long as we’re improving every week, we know we’ll certainly be in the conversation.”

The Eagles showed what they’re capable of last week, cruising to the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A title with 174 points for a 23-point victory over defending champion Camden Hills. They’ll be tough again today in the A North meet at Oxford Hills, but the stakes are higher this time around. Conference titles are coveted, but there isn’t the risk of the season coming to an end with a bad day at those meets.

At regionals, however, only the top four in each class make it to the state meet the next weekend. So this time, a season’s worth of work is on the line.

“We circle the date of regionals every year in the preseason,” Cony coach Shawn Totman said. “In my mind, it’s the most important tournament that we wrestle in, simply because if you don’t have a good day at the regionals, if you don’t get yourself prepared and help get your team prepared, there’s no next week. … Everything we do, starting literally in the first week of the season, is to emphasize the significance of regionals.”

Given the similarity of the A North and KVAC fields, it’s easy to project Mt. Ararat/Brunswick, which had conference champions in Brycen Kowalsky (120 pounds), Shea Farrell (132), Spencer LeClair (138) and Ben Laurence (170), and Camden Hills, which had champions in Julian Henderson (106), Eric Andrews (113) and Ian Henderson (145), as the favorites. But as Jensen pointed out, that’s far from an automatic.

“The dynamics of the tournament now will change, because some of the Class B kids in the KVACs were knocking off some of the other Class A kids,” he said. “You almost have to start over. Are we one of the favorites? Probably. But we’ve just got to wrestle to our potential, and hopefully we’ll come out on top again.”

Four KVAC champions came from Class B, but the absence of the B wrestlers could affect all classes and shake up the point structure. And while teams like Skowhegan, Oxford Hills, Nokomis and Cony, who finished third through sixth at KVACs, will be looking for to finish closer to the top, they’ll also be looking to defend or improve upon individual finishes. Nokomis’s Calvin Peck won at 126 pounds, and Isaiah Morin was a finalist at 138. Skowhegan’s Hunter McEwen won at 160, and Aiden Clark and Brayden Doucette were finalists at 120 and 285, respectively. Oxford Hills had a champion in Jeffrey Worster at 220 and a finalist in Dillon Worster at 182. Cony had a finalist in Aaron Lettre at 195.

In Class B, Belfast, which won the KVAC B title by 58 points, will compete in B North, where it will face mostly Penobscot Valley Conference teams. The Lions, who had a KVAC champion in Brian White (182) and finalists in Connor Fournier (106) and Cameron Watts (220), haven’t lost to a Class B team this season.

“We’re kind of in a unique setting, where we don’t see a lot of those teams so we don’t know what to expect,” coach Rick Kelley said. “It (was) very promising to do this well (at KVACs) with such a young group.”

Belfast will have its hands full with Dexter, which won the PVC title with 162 points, as well as Mattanawcook/Lee and Foxcroft, which were second and third at 137 and 112, respectively.

In B South, the top teams project to be Wells, which routed the field for the title last year and was third behind two Class A teams at the Noble Invitational, and Medomak Valley, which was second in the KVAC B competition last week. Local individuals looking for titles include Mount View’s Mark Ward, the defending 145 state champion who took the KVAC title at 152 pounds, and Winslow’s Alex Demers, who was the KVAC champion at 285.

Noble, which crushed A South by 77 points last year and won the Noble Invitational this year by 70 points, looms as the favorite to win its third straight regional title.


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