Wrestlers and coaches always try to strike a balance at regional meets between being competitive and staying healthy and sharp while qualifying for the state championships. Sometimes a close regional meet allows their competitive nature to trump all else, however. That could mean wrestling fans are in for a treat at Saturday’s Western B regionals.
Mid-State League champion Mountain Valley will be favored heading into the meet at Winslow High School. But the Falcons need only recall last week’s meet for a reminder of how hotly they will be pursued. York, Wells and defending regional champion Fryeburg Academy all finished with 26 points of the Falcons. Host Winslow adds even more intrigue.
Three MSL champions are expected to step onto the mat for the Falcons on Saturday — Caleb Austin (113), Ethan Boucher (120) and Jake Thornton(126). They also have Zack Cross, the league runner-up at 182, and Dakota Jacques, who won a regional title at 132 last year and finished third at 145 last week.
Brandon Gill (132), Eddie DeRoche (138) and Anthony Boucher (195) are other Falcons to watch. Oak Hill’s Danny Buteau (106 Mid-State champion) also should contend for a title.
Skowhegan returns to the site of its overwhelming victory in last week’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships, Mt. Ararat High School, to defend its Eastern A crown. The Indians had eight finalists win six championships to run away with the conference, with Cony the closest Class A competition, 77 points behind.
Two Oxford Hills wrestlers will be hoping to follow up conference championships with a regional title. John Hankey (126) has a pair of third-place finishes on his regional resume, while Malik Geiger (170) has a second and a fourth-place finish.
Other Vikings to watch are Taylor Alleano (113) and Cordell Brooks (120). Edward Little’s Sheldon Bang (KVAC runner-up at 132) and Skyler Bang (third at 145) hope to improve on last week’s results. Nick Hickey (160 runner-up) and JT Williams (third at 220) lead Mt. Blue’s contingent.
Class C will not be holding regional meets, but many schools will converge in Bucksport on Saturday to tune up for the state meet.