LISBON FALLS – High school wrestling is perhaps the only sport in which a 16-point team victory is open to interpretation.

Dirigo took home temporary bragging rights for the second time this season with a 41-25 triumph over Lisbon in Wednesday night’s clash of Class C goliaths at raucous Manchester Gymnasium.

For those who prefer to think long-term, as in the conference, regional and state meets that will unfold over the next five weeks, both teams planted a few seeds of self-confidence.

Armed with a full complement of wrestlers in each of the 14 weight classes for the first time this winter, Dirigo exhibited the kind of depth it takes to hoist the hardware in February. The Cougars claimed five forfeit victories, cheered on Josh Palmer to an emotional overtime victory over Mike Bolduc and watched Adam Gatchell and Kevin O’Leary hammer out one-sided decisions.

“I don’t think we’ve won a meet down here in at least three years,” said Dirigo coach Doug Gilbert. “Coming out of this gym with a one-point victory would have been fine with me, let alone 16 points.”

All was not lost for the Greyhounds, either. The reigning Class C champion and conqueror in four of the last six state meets couldn’t field a complete team, but six of the nine matches that were actually contested went Lisbon’s way.

At nearly opposite ends of the weight spectrum, Mark Stambach (285 pounds) and Jeff Cossar (119) registered pins. Mike McManus, Ryan Giusto and Cam Bubar each went the route to a convincing victory.

In a clash of 2006 champions that lived up to its billing as the most intense match of the night, Lisbon’s Tyler Clark shut out Derek Daley, 4-0, at 130.

“We had a few kids out of the lineup, so our goal was to wrestle Dirigo tough on the mat,” said Lisbon coach Mark Stevens. “I couldn’t have asked for better. The first time we faced them, I think we only won three matches.”

Defending state champs Jonathan Smith (140) and Kyle Miele (171) had their arms raised for Dirigo without breaking a sweat. They’re two of five wrestlers – Daley, Pat O’Leary and Michael Jonaitis are the others – each on pace to notch their 100th career victory this season.

“I think we’ll be as a much of a tournament team as we are a dual meet team,” said Daley, who is nursing torn cartilage in his ribs. “In the past, Dirigo had the reputation that one or two guys would choke. I don’t think that’s going to happen this year.”

Dirigo already has a pair of runner-up tournament finishes to its credit. The Cougars finished second to Class A power Massabesic in the Atlantic Invitational at Wells and trailed only Class B giant Belfast in the McDonald’s Tournament at Mountain Valley High School.

Although Dirigo-Lisbon was the centerpiece, their latest encounter technically was part of a three-team tangle. Each easily handled Wiscasset in supporting action, Dirigo by a 75-6 count and Lisbon by a 54-9 disparity.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.