DEXTER – The Dirigo wrestling team certainly started things off on the right foot in action Saturday

A balanced lineup, combined with huge wins by Dylan Castonguay (103 pounds), Mike Jonaitis (135) and A.J. Carrier (285), helped the Cougars win three times in a series of dual meets. Dirigo (3-0) fought back Foxcroft 38-28, Lisbon 56-21 and Dexter 51-30.

The event featured the top-four teams from the 2006 Class C state meet. This provided plenty of excitement because each competitor wanted to make an early statement.

Lisbon (1-2), the defending state champion, is still trying to fill out its lineup and didn’t have the depth. The Greyhounds beat Dexter 36-35, but was bounced 45-29 by Foxcroft. The four programs have combined to win every state crown since Dirigo in 1996.

Jon Smith recorded a technical fall at 140, but Foxcroft won the next two matches. Pins by freshman Aaron Skidgell (160), Kyle Miele (171), Carrier and Castonguay put the Cougars in command. Carrier was trailing, but executed a reversal and settled into a head and arm. Castonguay, who had never wrestled prior to three weeks ago, sank in a reverse half nelson.

“A.J.’S was a big one,” said Dirigo coach Doug Gilbert, who reached 100 wins.

“He had lost to the kid before, and Dylan Castonguay is getting confident. Even the kids who lost, looked good by trying different moves. We were aggressive as a team, but there is a long way to go.”

Lisbon only lost three matches against Dexter and the score was 36-36. The Tigers lost one-point for unsportsmanlike contact. Cam Bubar (140) Ryan Guisto (145), Joe Doughty (215), Mark Stambach (285) and Tyler Clark (125) each stuck opponents. Clark pinned Colby Johnson of Foxcroft with a grapevine. Clark had beaten the Pony wrestler in the state finals.

“These were the first matches of the season,” Lisbon coach Mark Stevens said. “A lot more needs to be worked on. Today, we wanted to see kids (wrestle hard) in the third period. The goals are to improve each match.”

In interesting matches, Guisto engineered a standing escape with two-seconds left to win a 3-2 decision Josh Palmer of Dirigo. “I gave it 101 percent,” Guisto said. “I looked at clock and knew I had to move. It was hand (wrist) control that won that match.”

Guisto was schooled 15-5 by Foxcroft Foxcroft two-time state champion Jared Rideout.

The Cougars were missing three starters, including Brett Staples (mononucleosis) but had support. Josh Hines (119) fought off his back to rally for a 16-15 decision, and Jonaitis also came-from-behind against Jacob Martin of Dexter.

Matt Smith (152), Adam Getchell (189) and Jon Smith each stuck the Greyhounds. Matt Smith recorded an 18-second stick.

“I feel really good,” Smith said. “I lifted weights all summer, plus wrestling with my teammates really helps.”

Dexter’s three-time state champion Jeremiah Barkac (112) was smooth in pinning Chad Oakes of Dirigo.

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