RUMFORD — Noble found some sweet redemption Saturday afternoon.
The Knights scored 168.5 points in winning championship at the 30th annual McDonald’s-Mountain Valley Invitational by easily outdistancing Ellsworth (128.5 points). Last year, Ellsworth beat Noble by half a point to win the tournament, last year.
Mountain Valley — led by individual champions Caleb Austin (113-pounds) and Ed DeRoche (132) — scored 109 points to finish third for the second-straight year. Foxcroft Academy 91, Fryeburg Academy 75 and Dirigo 74 rounded out the top six. There was 17 teams represented.
“We knew that we needed to put it all out there,”said Noble assistant coach Kevin Gray, who was filling in for head coach Kip DeVoll, whose wife was having surgery. ”Ellsworth was going to be competitive, plus other teams each have (quality) wrestlers who are just as strong.”
The action was heated on the mats and in Puiia Gymnasium throughout the event, but Noble proved to be superior and won four individual championships, including Andy Shorey (120), who recorded an 11-3 major decision against Dirigo’s Griffyn Smith — a two-time Class C state champion. The front running teams spilt in two head-to-head matches in the finals.
Austin won for the second-straight year by technical, falling to Danny Buteau of Oak Hill, 21-6. Austin, a Class B state finalist, utilized his skills and five takedowns.
”Danny and I are friends,”Austin said, of Buteau who won a Class B state championship as a freshman last year won at 106. ”We trained together last summer and he stayed over my house. But the friendship part ends when we step on the mat.”
Moments later, DeRouche, who competed for the Falcons ”B team last year,” repeated as champion by executing a 42-second pin against Josh Wright of Ellsworth.
”I’m excited,” said DeRoche, who used a far-side cradle to stick the Eagle wrestler. ”When we tied up, I noticed that he had crossed his feet So I went right at him for the takedown.” Oxford Hills (68.5, eighth) was led by Malik Geiger who recorded a 12-2 major decision over Jeff Weeks of Ellsworth to win at 182. Teammates Taylor Guedeahn-Aleano (120), Zack Harris (170) and Creighton Medeiros (220) each placed third.
”I really need to do a better job at finishing matches,” said Geiger, who also won McDonald’s, last year. ”Technically, I need to make my moves more crisp and precise.”
In a rematch of the 2013 final, Trevor Henchesel (100 career win) of Fryeburg rallied for a 9-7 decision against Ian Austin of Mountain Valley.
”It feels good to get back to the finals,” said elder Austin’s brother, who stuck Lucas MacDonald, in semifinal. ”Especially after being injured (concussions) that kept me off the mat last season.”
”We finished where I expected us to be,”Mountain Valley coach Gary Dolloff said. ”This was extremely competitive, although I didn’t think Noble would pull away like they did. We haven’t wrestled any teams like this, and it’s a good test. It shows our wrestlers that they need to work on some things.”
Mountain Valley had Dakota Jacques take third at 145, while Ethan Boucher, who won a Class B state championship last year as a freshman, place fourth, along with Mike Provencher and Coyote Freeman at 138 and 285, respectively. Dirigo displayed its youth, but was the top-finishing Class C team, again. Freshman Chase Thebarge was a finalist (106) and Tucker Barnett was third at 132.
”It was a tough tournament,’ ‘Dirigo assistant coach Dana Whittemore said. ”We scored more points than last year and we met up against some studs in the semifinals, like Bryce Whittemore (152) against (Foxcrofth state champion) Brooks Law. But, I am not disappointed because it’s still early and kids are adjusting. We’ll be there by the end of the season.”
Dagan Berenyi of Ellsworth (eight wrestlers) won the Jerry Perkins award as most outstanding wrestler after decisioning Robert Heatherman of Mt. Ararat in finals.
Christian Jensen (126) of Brunswick lost 9-5 to Jake Martel of Noble in the finals.