Sam Webber of Mt. Blue completed a stellar junior season by finishing fifth in the New England High School Wrestling Championships at Hillhouse High School in New Haven., Conn.

Webber was lone medalist among local wrestlers.

No Maine athlete won a New England title, but two – Dexter’s Jeremy Barkac and Massabesic’s Josh Eon reached the finals before losing.

”(Maine) wrestlers did OK,” Noble coach Kip DeVoll said. ”We had six guys reach the semifinals, and just two won. We need to tighten up because there’s always room for improvement.”

The meet featured the top wrestlers from all six New England states. Maine was represented by 42 state champions from all three classes.

Barkac (112) was dropped a 6-4 decision against Sean Boyle of Lowell in the finals. Boyle flattened Barkac and rode the Tiger wrestler 1:40 in the third period before a stalemate was called with 20 seconds left. Barkac had executed two tight takedowns, but Boyle had three standing escapes.

Eon (171) fell behind and dropped a 5-2 decision to Derek Stickel of Timberlane. Barkac, a four-time state champion, and Eon had placed third and fourth a year ago.

Webber was the aggressor in his match for fifth place, which he won 3-1. He won both matches Friday by controlling opponents. In the semifinals he scored four points with a takedown and a double-chicken wing near fall, but lost when Colin Feeley of Hendricksen secured a reversal at the final buzzer.

”Yes, things went OK at times,” Webber said. ”One thing I do have different from my brothers is that I placed down here, but we have plenty of memories that will last.”

Dirigo was represented with teammates Jon Smith (140), Kyle Miele (171), Kevin O’Leary (189) and Pat O’Leary (285). Smith had competed at New Englands last year, and came in even better prepared.

”My goal was to win a match, and I did,” Smith said. ”A bigger goal was to place, and I came close. The good thing is that I have next year.”

Smith started strong with a decision in the first round and was ahead 7-4 in the quarterfinals, but encountered trouble. His opponent executed a takedown and secured a head-and-arm pin. The Cougar split a pair of matches on Saturday, including a 13-3 major decision.

”In my last match I had to go for broke,” Smith said. ”I was behind and I knew I needed to outscore him to win. So I tried a head-and-arm, and it slipped off. I had 91 takedowns in Maine and none down here.”

Mountain Valley trio Ernie Matthews 125, Ben Matthews 145 and Kyle Dow 285 each came up short. Ben Matthews recorded a 25-second pin in his first match and was sporting a shiner above his right eye.

”I shot in and my head hit his knee,” Matthews said. ”That made me mad and I just stuck my arm in and reefed on it. That was enough lift to turn him over.”

Dow, despite felling ill, was ahead 12-6 in his next match, but, while locked up, he was thrown and pinned.

Lisbon’s Tyler Clark 125, Ryan Giusto 135 and Mark Stambach 215 each lost decisions.

”The kids lost some close matches,” Lisbon coach Mark Stevens said. ”Two were by one point. It was surprising, but it wasn’t due to a lack of preparing.”

Matthews and Brad Smith 160 of Oxford Hills each felt heartache after getting pinned while holding leads.

”I really enjoyed the wrestling,” Brad Smith said. ”It was great to see there is so much more wrestling outside of Maine and at a higher level. I just wish more Maine kids could see it.”

Nine Maine wrestlers were medalists. Jake Longley of Noble (112), Chris Smith of Deering (119) and John Hussey of Marshwood (152) each finished sixth. Jessie Rayworth of Noble finished fourth at 189 and Jacob Berry of Camden Hills (152) was fifth.

Eon’s younger brother Joe placed third at 140. Eon’s father and coach Bob won a New England crown in 1977.

Lowell dethroned Timberlane as team champion. Massabesic placed fifth to lead Maine schools.


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