No team in the region has higher preseason expectations than Dirigo. The Cougars return all but two starters from a season that saw more dual-meet wins (25) than any team in school history, plus two major invitational championships as well as conference and regional titles. Julian Baldinelli, Thomas Barnett and Reilley Lombardi each were Class C runners-up a year ago. Last crowned state champion in 2007, Dirigo expects challenges from Winslow in the West and Foxcroft and Dexter from the East.
Neighboring Mountain Valley should be a factor in Class B, as usual. The Falcons don't have overpowering numbers, but they welcome back four wrestlers — Nicole Burgess, Dakota Jacques, Brandon Gill and Nate Boucher — who placed in the top four at 2012 states. Mountain Valley was third in that meet.
Lisbon hopes to rally from a rare rebuilding season. Fifth in Class C represented only the second time the Greyhounds weren't either state champion or runner-up since 2000. And they're still young. The oldest returning wrestlers are 120-pound state champion Zach Stevens (now at 132) and Tyler Bard (138) and David Moore (190), each of whom finished fourth at the state meet.
There's also a youth movement at Monmouth, where 10 of the top 13 wrestlers are freshmen or sophomores. Junior James Gambino and sophomore Angus Koller each competed in the Class C showcase a year ago.
Senior Donnie Vannah is the most tournament-tested competitor at Oak Hill, which moves over from the KVAC and aims to improve upon a one-win season in dual meets.
Mt. Blue seeks its third consecutive conference title. The Cougars may forfeit some dual-meet classes early in the year, but the return of league champions Khalil Newbill (126) and Kevin Moore (132) will give the team a rugged look at tournament time.
Oxford Hills continues to gradually build its program to a level that may challenge in the upper half of the Class A division. The Vikings were two dual-meet wins away from a .500 record last season. Senior captains Jake Hall (132) and Dustin Edwards (285) and junior Jon Hankey (126) hope to help clear that hurdle.
Four Edward Little wrestlers will practice with Oxford Hills and compete independently, led by 145-pound junior Sheldon Bang.