Isaac Therrien, top, of Mountain Valley High School wrestles Cam Bourget of Lisbon during a meet in Lisbon in January. Therrien, who won the 160-pound match against Bourget, will compete at the state championship meet Saturday.
RUMFORD — There is no guarantees in life, and the same thing pertains to wrestling. Anyone can be beaten at any time.
That is especially true when wrestlers compete on Saturday in the Class A and B state championship meets. The atmosphere will be electric, and competing on the big stage is not for the faint of heart.
The top four wrestlers in 14 weight classes qualified last Saturday at four separate regionals. Based on those results, each team will know the quarterfinal matches: the North and South regional place winners will each be revered in order of finish.
That’s why the words quality and quantity will be weighed so importantly. Mountain Valley is clearly one team that knows firsthand that there is a fine line, after finishing behind Wells the previous two weekends in league and regional tournaments. The Falcons experienced a dose of adversity, following the dismissal of two teammates. However, they still advanced nine to the Class B state meet at Bucksport.
“The team had to overcome some key losses in the last couple of weeks but rebounded nicely with a second-place finish,” Mountain Valley coach Gary Dolloff said. “We have some very good wrestlers and hope to stay up with everyone else at the state meet. (We) also lost a couple tough matches to knock kids out of the running, took a little blow there.”
Mountain Valley champions were seniors Caleb Austin (44-1 at 126 pounds) and Ethan Boucher (3-4, 138), who both have shined in postseason events. Austin is a defending state champion, with 199 career wins, and Boucher is a former two-time state champion. They pinned Kyle Laroche of Lisbon and Caleb Chase of Wells, respectively.
“I feel really good about the state meet. I’m confident,” Boucher said, after winning his fourth straight regional crown. “I had pinned (Chase) last week, so I knew I just needed to go out and get it done.”
Boucher won’t require any extra incentive after illness at last year’s state meet resulted in a fourth-place finish. Mountain Valley also had three other regional finalists: Vinny DeRoche (33-7, 106), Issac Therrien (27-8, 160) and Jesse Pelletier (24-13 at 170).
DeRoche had pinned Lisbon’s Jack Thibbetts four times, but the Greyhounds’ freshman executed a standing escape as time ran out to win a 5-4 decision. DeRoche had tied the score with a reversal with 9.4 seconds left.
“The message is just step up work hard and see what we can get done. Character is built from adversity, so we shall see how much character we have this week,” Dolloff said.
“Ethan is a very good leader, takes charge at practice and the meets. Since his injury, he has come back strong and with a great attitude. Caleb is holding strong and is coming to the end, peaking at the right time. Ethan is very focused and has been working harder to get stronger and get the cardio back, but is focused to go after his third state title and help lead this team to a high finish at states.”
Evit Roy (113 pounds) and Darin Buono (26-10, 220) each placed third for the Falcons. Peter Cogley (152) will also compete.
Mountain Valley wrestles a strong schedule, which has included eight tournaments, and is hoping those experiences pay off. Wells is the favorite with 12 wrestlers qualified, led by champions Ryan Norton (113), Michael Wrigley (170) and Nolan Potter (195).
Dirigo is led by regional champions Hunter White (43-1 at 152), Bryce Whittemore (48-1, 160) and Nolan DeGroot (39-7, 182). The Cougars were humbled, but the quality still exists.
“Wells should win, and the battle may be for second. Mountain Valley, Foxcroft, Ellsworth and Dirigo,” Cougars coach Doug Gilbert said. “It could come down to one individual, as to who finishes second.
“All but (Jacob) True have been to a state meet, and everyone but True and DeGroot were on the team that won the last state meet in Bucksport.
“The gym is small and the meet may last into the early evening. My kids have been there, and hopefully it will be a non-issue.”
Wells had the most qualifiers with 12.
Whittemore has been dominant and will be determined to win a third state championship. White, a former state finalist, relies on quickness and likely meet two-time state champ Peyton Cole of Ellsworth.
DeGroot, Dalton Berry (36-8 at 195) and Colin Woodhead (40-15, 145), will place. Jon Flagg also will compete for Dirigo because Alex Shorey of Mountain Valley is out
Lisbon will be primed to make noise with Thibbetts and regional finalists Kurtis Bolton (145) and Nick Lerrette (152). Riley Quatrano (120), Cam Bourget (160), Brad Harriman (170) and Zach Morin (182) each placed third.
Danny Buteau of Oak Hill will be on a mission to earn his fourth state championship, at a third different weight class.
“I actually feel pretty good about going for my fourth state title,” Buteau, who is 40-0 this season and 173-12 in his career, said. “I’ve been dominate my senior year. I’ve been able to avoid injuries during my career.”
Young sister Zoe Buteau (126) and former Class C state champion Calvin Thompson (132) of Monmouth, will seek the podium.
In Class A, Oxford Hill’s Dawson Stevens (160) will be motivated after winning the regional. Father and coach Tony was a two-time state champion in early 1990s. Marshwood will be favored, led by three-time champion Brad Beaulieu. Brad’s father Dan played football at Mountain Valley in early 1990s.
Daniel Bolton, right, of Lisbon High School and Caleb Chase of Wells look up at the time clock during their 145-pound match in Lisbon in January. Bolton won this matchup. He will battle for the podium at this weekend’s state wrestling championships in Bucksport.