WELLS — When Thomas Barnett stepped on the mat for the 160-pound championship match, the Dirigo wrestler knew what he was up against in this showdown.
The Cougars needed a total team effort and rallied in the end to beat Mountain Valley, 173-163, to win the Mid-State League championship Saturday.
It was certainly close as Dirigo found itself trailing the rival Falcons by nine points entering the championship consolations and finals, which were held simultaneously. Each team won three individual crowns, Dirigo’s Caleb Hall (132), Barnett and Nelson Pepin (182), while Mountain Valley countered with Nicole Burgess (106), Santos Rodriquez (195) and Ryan Glover (285).
Fryeburg took third at 132.5, and edged Mountain Valley by4½ points to win the league crown last year. Wells 112.5, York 94 and Madison 77.5 rounded out the top six.
“The coaches had told me that I needed to win,” said Barnett “I am really feeling confident on the mat, lately. It was a good pin. He tried to slip in legs, but I rolled right through.”
The Falcons led 155-154 following Robert Worthley pinning Cougar Julian Baldinelli for third place at 152.
Barnett reversed Zach Cross of Mountain Valley in the only head-to-head finals match between the front runners.
The Falcons led 123-100 early in the consolations, but the Cougars felt they had the numbers to close the gap in the consolation semifinals.
“Yes, we can catch them,” said Dirigo coach Doug Gilbert, who was voted co-coach of the year with Freyburg’s Bryce Thurston. “This is our round and its where team depth pays off.”
The Falcons’ Burgess stuck Cody Baraneis of Lisbon, but the Greyhounds’ Zach Stevens upset Brandon Gill of Mountain Valley, 8-1 at 126.
“I knew that he couldn’t take me down,”said Stevens, who had lost twice to Gill. “So, I stayed on him and controlled the match. I knew I didn’t want to be on the mat because he is good in the top position.”
Hall pinned Sam Lapointe of Wells in 1:27, but Cougar teammates Brett Whittemore (138), , D.J. Webber (170) each lost. Jared Petruzzella decisioned Whittemore, and Michael Curtis of Wells stuck Webber and was voted the Most Outstanding Wrestler.
Pepin won by injury default because Falcon Taylor Carey was transported to a hospital for spitting up blood after winning a SF match.
The Falcons finished strong as Rodriquez destroyed Derek Leavitt of Fryeburg and Glover outmaneuver a heavier Alex Mercurtio of York.
“I’m glad to be back because it helps the team,” said Glover, who decisioned Peter Ruffalo (third place) 1-0 on an escape in the QF. “My wind is not where it should be yet, but there’s still time in the season.”
“It feels a lot better being compettitive,” Mountain Valley coach Chris Bean said. “It’s good to see different styles during practices.”
Fryeburg champions were Connor Sheehan (113) and Jake Thurston (145). Sheehan stuck Dekota Jacques of Mountain Valley and Thurston won a 6-4 decision. Raider freshman Zac Sheehan lost 7-5 against Colin Sevigney of Wells.
The Cougars’ Misty Steward (106), Eric Holman (113), Alex Snowman (195) and Zach White (215) each placed third. Alex Turbide and James Gambino of Monmouth placed third at 120 and 132. Joe Provencher of Mountain Valley (fourth, 138) won his 100th career match.