Mt. Blue, Mountain Valley and Dirigo all won their respective regional tournaments by double digits last Saturday. The task laid before them this Saturday will be much more daunting.
Three state championships will be decided at two Western Maine locations — Class A at Windham High School, Class B and Class C at Fryeburg Academy. Noble, Mountain Valley and Foxcroft Academy are the defending champions in A, B and C, respectively.
Mt. Blue defended its Eastern A championship last week with one of its best all-around showings of the season. Challenging Western A’s supremacy in the state meet will take that and more. An Eastern Maine team has not won the A title since Mt. Blue went back-to-back in 1983 and 1984.
Noble’s three-year title run is likely to end, however. Western A champion Marshwood is the favorite after winning nine of the 14 weight classes last Saturday.
Marshwood has never won a Class A title (it won four Class B titles before moving up to A in 2000).
Massabesic, the only school to win Class A other than Noble in the last 14 years, was Western A runner-up and may be the Hawks’ biggest challenger. Mt. Blue qualified eight wrestlers for Saturday, including Eastern A champions Tyler Craig (106), Khalil Newbill (120), Kevin Moore (126) and Caleb Farrington (170).
Other local wrestlers scheduled to compete include Jon Hankey and Malik Geiger of Oxford Hills, Sheldon Bang and Shawn Bang of Edward Little, Mt. Blue’s Drew Blanchet, Chris Ingram, Zach Faulkner and Tyler Sennick and Poland’s Brandon Drotter.
Bolstered by several late-season additions to the lineup, Mountain Valley went from also-ran during the regular season to Mid-State League and Western B champions. The Falcons will mount the defense of their state title with individual regional champions Brandon Gill (126) and Nate Boucher (132), regional runners-up Nicole Burgess (106), Dakota Jacques (113) and Santos Rodriguez (195) and defending state champion Ryan Glover (285).
Joe Provencher, Anthony Boucher, Jake Thornton and Robert Worthly round out Mountain Valley’s representation.
Despite the Falcons’ revitalized roster, Eastern B champion and 2011 state runner-up Camden Hills is the overwhelming favorite. The Windjammers qualified wrestlers in 13 of 14 weight classes, including seven regional champions, while winning last week’s meet by 137 points.
Among the defending champions, Foxcroft Academy appears to have the best shot at going back-to-back. The Ponies will have wrestlers in every weight class, including eight individual regional champions.
Dirigo is on a mission to sweep the Mid-State, regional and state titles for the first time since 2007 and has wrestlers qualified in all but one weight class to challenge Foxcroft. Regional champions Caleb Hall (132), Brett Whittemore (138), Jesse Hutchinson (145) and Gavin Sanders (182) and defending state champion D.J. Webber (170) lead the Cougars contingent. Dexter and Bucksport could take home some hardware as well.
Other local qualifier include Lisbon’s Zach Stevens, J.D. Martin, Cody Beraunies, Tyler Bard and David Moore, Monmouth Academy’s Tyler Lewendowski, James Gambino and Angus Koller, Dirigo’s Thomas Barnett, Julian Balidnelli, Alex Snowman, Zach White, Eric Holman, Misty Steward, Dexter Verrill and Reilley Lombardi and Spruce Mountain’s Peter Ruffalo.