High school wrestling’s top competitors will start to get the measure of one another with the conference championships this Saturday, highlighted by the Mid-State League championships at Fryeburg Academy and the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships at Mt. Ararat High School.

Mountain Valley hopes to give retiring coach Gary Dolloff his fifth league title in Fryeburg. Ryan Burgess, Joe Provencher and Josh Thornton are the three returning individual champions who helped the Falcons to last year’s team title. Yet it is the upper weights, led by Taylor Carey, Josh Allen, Christian Durland and Ryan Glover, who should provide the Falcons’ biggest advantage.

Last year’s runner-up Lisbon boasts three returning champions of its own in Josh Pomerleau, Matt Nicholson and Mike McNamara. The Greyhounds will try to challenge Mountain Valley’s depth with freshmen Nicholas McNamara and Zach Stevens, three-time state champion Forrest Cornell and Zach Splude.

Dirigo’s youth movement of 2010 has been bearing fruit this year. Only the three teams expected to battle for the league title, Mountain Valley, Fryeburg and Lisbon, have beaten the Cougars in MSL action, and the Cougars split their regular season meetings with the Greyhounds. Juniors Caleb Hall and Eric Holman, sophomores Brett Whittemore, Thomas Barnett, D.J. Webber and Zach White and freshman Jesse Hutchinson hope to start a new winning tradition in Dixfield.

State champion Eric Coulombe leads a deeper Monmouth Academy contingent along with Kyle Foyt-Bridges, who figures to be locked in one of the day’s marquee match-ups with Mountain Valley’s Allen at 189. Allen has won two of the first three meetings.

The KVAC meet will go deep into Saturday afternoon with some of the biggest brackets in the state. Defending champion Camden Hills will try to hold off challengers Belfast and Mt. Blue and make a statement as it begins defense of its state title.

The Cougars lost senior heavyweight Matt Archer to shoulder surgery last week, but sophomores Khalil Newbill and Nick Hyde and juniors Drew Blanchet and Joey Metcalf are among the favorites to podium in their weight classes.

Oak Hill brings a tournament-tested quartet of potential medalists to Topsham — Craig Morrill, Mike Hamm, Keith Madore and Nick Wells. Madore and Wells figure prominently in a couple of weight classes to watch. Madore should battle with Camden’s Brandon Rich, Morse’s Wyatt Brackett and Cony’s Will Lundquist at 140. Wells and Metcalf could clash for the 215 title.

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