One year ago, the Edward Little Red Eddies were so focused on getting to the Augusta Civic Center that they forgot one thing – they had to win their preliminary game to get there.

As the fourth seed, the Eddies had just missed getting an automatic bye to the quarterfinals. Then 13th seed Cony snatched their passes to Augusta in a shocking upset.

EL made sure that won’t happen again this year by running the table during the regular season and securing the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Maine Class A bracket. The 18-0 Eddies, who picked up some valuable tournament-like experience while beating Bangor in Saturday’s KVAC championship, edged the 17-1 Rams by a little more than six tournament index points in the final Heal Points standings released Sunday.

“We’re just excited to get back (in the tournament), especially after last year, and to get a bye to Augusta and have a week to prepare for whoever we play, whether it’s Hampden or Lawrence,” EL coach Mike Adams said.

The Eddies await the winner of Wednesday night’s prelim between No. 9 Lawrence and No. 8 Hampden Academy, the two-time defending Eastern A champions. Bangor and No. 3 Mt. Blue (15-3), which handed the Rams their only regular-season loss, also earned byes to the quarterfinals. Bangor drew the winner of the prelim between No. 10 Brunswick and No. 7 Leavitt, while Mt. Blue will meet whoever emerges from the tilt between No. 11 Erskine and No. 6 Gardiner.

Cony, ironically, succeeds EL as this year’s No. 4 seed and will host No. 13 Brewer. The final prelim pits No. 12 Mt. Ararat against No. 5 Messalonskee. Adams said he wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the lower seeds to match Cony’s 2006 feat.

“You look at Mt. Ararat, Erskine, Brewer and those teams in the (KVAC) North, those teams are very solid, so another upset or two is very possible this year,” he said.

Defending Western B champion Mountain Valley may have to pull off an upset or two to hold onto its crown. After entering last year’s tournament as the top seed, the Falcons (15-3) go in seeded No. 3. Western Maine Conference powers Greely (17-1) and York (13-5) drew the top two spots, but Mountain Valley does have the advantage of already knowing who its quarterfinal opponent will be – No. 6 Freeport (11-7). Greely awaits the winner of the 8-9 matchup between Yarmouth and Lake Region, while York meets the winner of Wednesday’s prelim between No. 7 Cape Elizabeth (10-8) and No. 10 Poland (7-11). The top six teams in the region have byes to the quarterfinals at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

In Eastern B, defending state champion Maranacook (16-2) edged out Ellsworth by three points for the top seed and will begin defense of its crown against the winner of the MCI-Presque Isle prelim.

As expected, Western C turned into a three-way battle to the top between Mountain Valley Conference rivals Dirigo, Winthrop and Boothbay. Dirigo (17-1), by virtue of its season sweep of Mountain Valley, sits in the top spot and will meet the winner of the prelim between No. 9 Livermore Falls (12-6) and No. 8 Wiscasset (11-7).

“(Earning the top seed) was a goal that we set early on, and when your players strive for such goals and reach them, then they should feel some satisfaction and a sense of achievement,” said Dirigo coach Gavin Kane, who also led his girls’ team to the top seed.

Like Dirigo, Boothbay (16-2) used a win over Mountain Valley to vault past defending regional champion Winthrop (16-2) for the second seed, although both teams earned the last two automatic byes to the quarterfinals. When the Ramblers get to Augusta, they’ll face the winner of the prelim between No. 11 Telstar (8-10) and No. 6 St. Dom’s (13-5). Mt. Abram (6-12) eeked past Monmouth by .1543 of a point for the 13th and final slot and will take on No. 4 Waynflete in the prelims.

Kane said that while all of the attention this year has been on the top three MVC teams, the league’s other representatives and those from the Western Maine Conference shouldn’t be overlooked.

“If the seeds hold up in the prelims, people are going to have the opportunity to see some excellent quarterfinal matchups,” he said. “I know that I’m not overly crazy about our quarterfinal game against either Wiscasset or Livermore Falls. Georges Valley is also tough and the WMC teams are all capable of doing very well.”

Unbeaten Richmond will try to defend its Western D title as the top seed and looms in the quarterfinals for the winner of the prelim between No. 9 Greater Portland Christian (7-8) and No. 8 Rangely (8-10). Another unbeaten, Gould Academy (14-0) earned the No. 2 seed and awaits whoever emerges between No. 10 Greenville and No. 7 Forest Hills. Buckfield (9-7) also picked up a first-round bye as the No. 5 seed and will meet No. 4 Elan (9-3) in Augusta.


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