AUGUSTA — The surest way for Lisbon to win its fourth consecutive Class C wrestling title, Greyhounds coach Mark Stevens believed, was for a young Foxcroft Academy team to do damage to an equally young Dirigo squad.

Foxcroft obliged. In fact, it cooperated too well for Lisbon’s good.

The Ponies rode a couple of early upsets and superior depth to its first state championship in six years and denied the Greyhounds’ quest for an unprecedented four-peat Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center.

Not that tournament followed the way Foxcroft coach Luis Ayala had it mapped out, either.

“Honestly, I had Lisbon winning this thing,” Ayala said.

But a first-round upset win by Alex Francis over Dirigo top seed Adam Gill at 130 sent the Ponies on their way.

“I saw how the first round went and thought, ‘Aw, shoot. We’re in trouble now,” Stevens said. “They had a lot more horses than we did today. Their kids scored two, four, six, eight points, and they needed to.”

“For them to believe, it was extremely important for us to get off to a good start and it just rolled like an avalanche after that,” Ayala said.

Foxcroft got another big upset in the second round when freshman Cory Bjornson-Weismore pinned Dirigo’s Nelson Pepin in the first period. Bjornson-Weismore went on to finish second at 171, Francis third at 130. Eight of their wrestlers placed, and champions Mark Smith (112) and Wesley Stinson (152) led the Ponies to 128 points.

“They really picked it up today,” Lisbon senior Forrest Cornell said. “They wrestled their best today and they deserved to win it.”

Lisbon finished second with 122, Dirigo third with 120. Dexter (94) and Fort Kent (86) rounded out the top five.

It was still a historic day for Lisbon as Cornell (119) became the first four-time champion in the program’s history.

Cornell, who won the 103-pound title as a freshman and the 112 crown as a sophomore and junior, picked his spots against Dirigo’s Caleb Hall to secure a 3-0 decision.

“I wanted to shoot on him and get the first takedown, but he’s pretty good at stalling and defending that,” said Cornell, who was named the meet’s outstanding wrestler. “I just wrestled like I normally do, not taking anything for granted.”

“(Winning a fourth title) hasn’t hit me yet,” he added. “But I’m sure when it does, it will be pretty crazy.”

“You couldn’t pick a better kid,” Stevens said. “He’s very humble, very passionate about the sport. He deserved this.”

The rest of Lisbon’s standout senior quartet added to their championship resumes, too. Josh Pomerleau (125) pinned Foxcroft’s Trevor Weymouth at 4:29 to win his second title. Matt Nicholson (140) also won his second by blanking Bucksport’s Jacob Stewart, 4-0. Mike McNamara (135) became Lisbon’s sixth three-time champion when he pinned Spencer Levesque of Fort Kent at 5:26.

“I tell ya, I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” McNamara said. “I knew Spencer Levesque was going to be a real tough matchup. I went out their pretty confident because I practiced. I couldn’t have done it without Nicholson as my practice partner.”

McNamara’s younger brother, Nick, won the 103 title. The freshman dominated Foxcroft’s Mark Smith, 10-2.

“I can’t even say how proud I am of him,” the elder McNamara said. “I’m more happy about him winning his match than I am mine.”

“It’s kind of hard living up to him,” Nick said of following in his brother’s footsteps, “but I’m trying.”

Dirigo showed its youth with the early upsets, but the Cougars rallied with eight wrestlers placing, led by 160 champion D.J. Webber.

“It was ours for the taking. The door opened up for us and we just didn’t take it,” Dirigo coach Doug Gilbert said. “It was there and hopefully they learned something. This is their first time in Augusta and I thought for their first time in Augusta, my freshmen and sophomores did very well.”

Webber, a sophomore, wasted little time with Foxcroft’s Zac Smith in the final, pinning him at 1:18. Smith had been his first opponent of the season, and Webber held a 7-1 lead in the second period of that match before running out of gas and just barely holding on for a 9-8 win.

“I wasn’t letting that happen again,” he said. “I’ve just been practicing, practicing my moves every day in practice really hard and running twice as hard so I can do stuff like this all the time instead of being out of breath all the time. That’s no fun.”

“Over the season, he learned to pace himself and he has something left in the tank at the end,” Gilbert said.

Monmouth Academy’s Eric Coulombe didn’t have any history with his opponent in the 145 final, but still won his second straight state championship with a 5-2 win over Spencer McCormick of Calais.

“I was just keeping my balance,” said Coulombe, who missed the first month of the season due to a suspension but is now 16-0. “I didn’t know how he wrestled, so I’m just going on how I wrestle. I like to feel out a guy and know how he wrestles before I do anything too crazy.”

Monmouth’s Kyle Foyt-Bridges was the other local wrestler to reach the finals. He was pinned by Chris Powell of Bucksport at 2:49 of the 189 final.


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