DIXFIELD — Prior to stepping on to the mat, the Oak Hill wrestler Danny Buteau had to focus mentally, and visualize what he needed to do.
For the fourth consecutive year, Buteau did just that, winning his fourth individual championship at the 2017 Mid-State League tournament.
In the team competition, overall depth can’t be overlooked, and Wells certainly had it covered Saturday. A late pin by Sean McComack-Kuhman over Monmouth’s Drew Blundon at 220 pounds clinched the team championship for Wells. The Warriors scored 198.5 points to hold off Mountain Valley, which finished second with 193.5 points.
The teams waged a competitive battle all day. Mountain Valley won MSL titles in 2014 and 2015, and finished second to Dirigo last year.
Wells held a slim lead of 107-100 after the semifinals, and 158-150 entering the championship consolations and finals, which were held simultaneously. Wells and Mountain Valley advanced eight and seven, respectively, to the finals.
Wells individual champions were Ryan Norton (113), Michael Wrigley (170) and Nolan Potter (195). Mountain Valley’s individual champions were Vinny DeRoche (106), Caleb Austin (126), Ethan Boucher (138) and Eddie DeRoche (145). The Warriors won two of three head-to-head matches in the finals against the Falcons.
“We had some pins early on that helped. But, like I told the guys, in a tournament like this, it’s so important to have wrestlers battle back to the consolations,” Wells coach Scott Lewia said. “We had four in the consolations, and all four won. That never happens. I thought a turning point was when Drew Peters pinned (Peter) Cogley for third place (at 152 pounds).”
Also, Norton pinned Falcons freshman Evrit Roy at 113.
Mountain Valley had pulled even after Boucher stuck Caleb Chase of Wells. Wrigley then pinned Jesse Pelletier of Mountain Valley.
“I stressed to the kids that every extra pin point would be needed. Then some early byes hurt us,” Mountain Valley coach Gary Dolloff said. “Wells really came to wrestle today. Next week (regionals at Wells) will be just as close. We had some guys step up, like Nate White (third at 132).”
Buteau, who was voted Most Outstanding Wrestler, was pushed to the limit in a 7-2 decision against Cullen Cummings of Wells.
“Today, I wanted to get by my first two matches in quick fashion,” Buteau said. “Cummings had dropped down a weight class, and I knew that he would give me a battle.”
Buteau’s younger sister Zoe pinned Kyle Laroche of Lisbon in the semifinal, and faced Austin in the finals.
“I feel better (reaching finals),” Zoe Buteau, a two-time girls’ All-American, said. “I knew (Austin) would come after me with a variety of moves. So, I needed to do my best to (counter) them.”
The Mountain Valley wrestler indeed executed a series of moves before sticking Buteau (cradle).
“I wanted to do my best today. I wasn’t taking anything for granted,” said Austin, who joined Boucher as four-time MSL champions. “So I did not want to do anything to degrade my seeding.”
Vinny DeRoche jump started the finals, pinning Jack Tibbetts with a splade for the third time this season. Older brother Eddie DeRoche won a 17-2 technical fall over Sam Stozier of Wiscasset. Dirigo (124.5 points, fourth place) was led by champions Hunter White (152), Bryce Whittemore (160) and Nolan DeGroot (182).
White switched for a reversal in the second period and won a 7-3 decision against Nick Lerrette of Lisbon. DeGroot came from behind and executed a late escape to fend off a stronger Greyhound Zach Morin, 9-7.
“My goal today was to win and go home. This was my final match in (Defoe) gym, so I left in all on the mat,” DeGroot said.
Whittemore sunk in a deep half-nelson to pin Issac Therrien of Mountain Valley. Dirigo’s Dalton Berry was out maneuvered by Nolan Potter of Wells in 195-pound final.
Mountain Valley wrestlers Nate White (132), Mike Arsenault (182), Darin Buono (195) and Camden Mason (285) each placed third. Jon Flagg and Colin Woodhead of Dirigo placed third at 120 and 145, respectively. Ben Harriman of Lisbon was third at 170.
Other champions were Josh Mackaman (120) of York/Traip and Madison’s Matt Brown at 285