RUMFORD – The Dirigo wrestling team moved right in on the competition Wednesday night in Puiia Gymnasium.

Still, it required a major decision by Mike Jonaitis (140-pounds) in the final match as the Cougars rallied back for a 40-33 win against arch-rival Mountain Valley in a Mid-State League dual meet.

Mountain Valley (7-2) beat Dirigo (20-1) in a tightly-contested dual meet last month, and the rematch was equally competitive. The Falcons and Cougars each have well-respected programs and their performances bring out the best in their athletes.

“Dirigo won the matches they needed to,” Falcons coach Gary Dolloff said. “I thought (Dirigo coach) Doug (Gilbert) made all the right moves and put his team in position to win. I’m just as proud of my kids because none of them gave up.”

Dirigo had bumped kids around as the rules allow and things panned out early on. The Cougars utilized a forfeit to Derek Daley to set up Jonaitis, and the senior responded with a 9-0 in against Mike Duka. The experience paid off as Jonaitis dominated the freshman.

“There was a little (pressure),” Jonaitis said. “I knew I had to win, and this was a team effort tonight. Once the match started, I felt comfortable.”

The Falcons won two of the previous three matches to get back in the meet. Ernie Matthews pinned Brandon Jonaitis with a head and arm, and Derek Sicotte (135) won by injury default over Miele. The match was halted when Miele made contact with the mat and suffered a bad shoulder.

“This was a good test for us,” Gilbert said. “The win by Chad Oakes (112) was huge, and I felt Pat O’Leary (285) looked good in a loss. I’m not worried about our level of competition because its strong every day in practice with our (three) state champions.”

The Falcons had taken a 21-18 lead behind three straight wins. Tyler Child, a Class B state champion, pinned Justin Buttrich with a head and arm at 215.

Kyle Dow used his agility in countering O’Leary to win 7-2. In a battle of freshmen, Tim Ross stuck Dylan Castonguay in a cradle at 103

Unbeaten Cougar state champion Jon Smith decisioned Devin Roberts 3-1 at 140, but the Falcons Ben Matthews (145) secured a grapevine to Matt Smith.

Oakes had stuck Mark Ross to give Dirigo the lead for good.

Dirigo started strong as Josh Palmer won a 6-4 overtime thriller against Cody Grasruck at 160, and Adam Gatchell stuck Brian Cogley at 171. Cougar Kyle Meile, a Class C state champion, recorded his 100th career win last Saturday.

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