WINSLOW — It was evident that Brandon Gill and teammates were in a competitive match, but the Mountain Valley wrestlers bided their time took advantage of their opportunities when they presented themselves.
In doing so, the Falcons wrestled above their expectations en route to winning the Western Class B regional wrestling championship Saturday, scoring 152 points behind five individual champions to outdistance runner up Wells, which finished with 128.
Mountain Valley, which finished sixth last year, proved to be the class of the field, and qualified all eight of its wrestlers for the state meet.
It was competitive until the Falcons took control by winning seven semifinal matches to score 97 points. First-place finishers included Ethan Boucher (120), Jake Thornton (126), Gill (132), Dakota Jacques (145) and Zach Cross (182).
The top four wrestlers in 14 weight classes have qualified for the Class B state meet, being held Saturday, Feb. 15, in Bath.
It was important to place as high as possible, because the order of finishes will be reversed against Eastern regional competitors in state meet.
Gill was tied 2-2 at the end of regulation with Tommy Cryer of Wells, and went to overtime. The wrestlers couldn’t score any points and time was running out in triple-OT.
“I needed to pick it up,” said Gill, who despite being the No.2 seed, wrestled four matches. “I had popped my shoulder out and was able to get out on the side. The Peterson (move) was there, so I took it and (Cryer) is known for the move, so it feels really good.”
Jacques was solid in a 9-4 decision against Josh Smith of York. Cross grabbed a fast lead and held off Fryeburg Trevor Henschel, 6-2
“I had to be quick on my feet and go after him and then got a merkle (two-point near fall),” said Cross, who had lost six of seven matches to Henschel this season.
Prior to that, Ethan Boucher built up a 4-0 lead and held off Isaac Desrochers of Wells. Thornton executed a reversal to take a lead in the third period and followed with a series of near falls for a 10-2 decision over Dillon Pelletier of Winslow.
The Falcons won two of three head-to-head matches against Wells in the finals. Eddie DeRoche was pinned by Colin Sevigney of Wells at 138. Anthony Boucher dropped a class and placed third at 195.
The Falcons also had two come-from-behind wins by DeRoche and Jacques in the semifinals. A couple late moves strengthened the Falcons.
“I was down and knew I had to make a move,” DeRoche said. “It helped when I got back on to my feet and then set-up a spadle.”
“It was good day with kids wrestling above their seeds,” Mountain Valley coach Chris Bean said “The kids decided to switch and Eddie wrestled off with Mike Provencher and won, so Eddie deserved the spot.”
In a highly-anticipated match, Falcons freshman Caleb Austin lost 6-1 to Peter DelGallo of Gardiner, the reigning state and New England champion. Austin knew he needed to use his quickness and limit mistakes. Oak Hill freshmen Danny Buteau won the 106 championship with a pin against Cameron Grass of Erskine Academy.
“It should be interesting,” said Buteau, who had beat Grass by injury default during the season ) in the semifinals. “Now its important to keep training hard because there is always someone out there who wants to beat you.”
Raiders teammates Zachary Cloutier and Samual Woodard each placed fourth, at 113 and 160, respectively.
“Danny Buteau’s success comes from comittment to the sport and a good work ethic,” Oak Hill coach Rick Swett said.
Fryeburg, with 121.5 points, placed third, led by champion Willy MacFawn (152) and finalist Andrew Lyman at 285. The Raiders qualified eight, including Ryan Buzzell (145), Matt Boucher (152) and Angel Estalent (220), each with third-place finishes.