RUMFORD — Jared Jensen, a170-pound Brunswick senior, repeated as an champion at the 28th annual McDonald's-Mountain Valley Invitational.
Noble definitely proved that depth paid off with 10 medalists led by Bill Gagner (113) and Jacob Guimond (182) to score 148 points. Foxcroft Academy held on to second place with 115 to edge out Dirigo at 113.
Dirigo had 10 medalists to score 162 points to win their first-ever championship last year. This time it was a two-team race, with Foxcroft leading Noble 92 to 89 after the point-rich semifinal round.
“The team performed well,” Noble coach Kip DeVoll said. “I've got eight sophomores and freshmen, but they are so willing to learn. Even today, after every match, it was a learning experience. They are not afraid and are getting the job done.''
There were plenty of surprises throughout the event, and Dirigo's Griffyn Smith shinned by winning an individual championship at 103. The championship and consolation finals were held simultaneously on two mats. The Cougar freshman went on the attack early and executed pinning combinations to build a 9-0 lead en route to a 15-2 major decision against Joe Langley of Noble.
"I really didn't know what to expect today," said Smith, who had two pins. "I just wanted to go out and do my best. I just needed to be mentally tougher today."
Noble gained revenge when Guimond stuck Nelson Pepin of Dirigo in the finals. The Cougars found the going rough, winning one of five con-finals, with Zack White placing third at 220. Reilly Lombardi (132), Brett Whittemore, DJ Webber (170) and Cliff Boynton (285) each placed fourth.
Host Mountain Valley finished fifth at 64.5, with Jake Thornton winning the lone crown. Thornton came out of a reversal and stuck Dillon Pelletier in a spadle.
"I knew that I needed to stay on top because of his strength," Thornton said. "I had a merkle (leg hold) and he bucked up and spadle was there. I'm known for it.''
The Falcons' Brandon Gill (126) placed third, and Gill, who had upset No.1 in quarterfinal, was fourth at 160.
Jensen, lone Dargon wrestler, has to practice with neighboring Mt. Ararat, but still won a state championship last season.
''I get my momentum from my dad (Mt. Ararat coach Erik Jensen and my team),'' said Jensen, who recorded a 13-1 major decision against Jon Badger of Noble in final. "After the football season (2,500 rushing yards, 24 touchdowns), it was a big confidence booster leading into wrestling, and my goal is to repeat as state champion and win New England'.''
Fryeburg had Ian McFawn win a championship at 195 by injury default over David Moore of Lisbon. The Raiders' other finalists were Zack Sheehan (126) and Jake Thurston (3-2 loss at 145), while three-time McDonald's champion Conner Sheehan is sidelined with a broken ankle, suffered Dec.1. Zack Stevens of Lisbon stuck Jake Hall of Oxford Hills at 132. Greyhound teammate Tyler Bard was third at 138.
“I wanted to wrestle my match and let him come at me,” Stevens said.
The semifinal round is big (potential 14 points by a wrestler), but in a tournament teams also need kids to wrestle back for thirds and fourth.
Oxford Hills sophomore Malik Geiger pulled off a stunner by pinning Thomas Barnett of Dirigo at 160. Viking Cordell Brooks was third with a 3-2 decision against Carter Lebrecque of Oak Hill at 113.
“Malik is a hard worker and really showed some good balance,” Oxford Hills coach Tony Stevens said. “The team is competitive again and it feels good. It has been five years and we are also 4-0 in dual meets.”
Cody Soucier of Madison was voted tournament most outstanding wrestler after a 6-4 decision over defending state champion Wesley Stinson of Foxcroft.