The number of wrestlers in Dirigo’s 100-win club outgrew the bunting that honors its members and hangs from the wall at Defoe Gymnasium many years ago.

One banner became two, and probably should be three. Coach Doug Gilbert, who took over the program in the late 1990s, admittedly has trouble keeping track of it all.

“I believe this is 18, going back to my first year of coaching,” Gilbert said Saturday after Jesse Hutchinson decisioned Howard Carter of Boothbay, 6-0, to hit the century mark.

Hutchinson, a Class C state runner-up at 138 pounds as a sophomore and 145 as a junior, is competing at 160 this season.

“By the end of his freshman year, he beat out the kids he had to beat out to start for us,” Gilbert said. “He’s just a great kid. Polite as all get-of-out-of-town. Smart kid. Great teammate. All the things you want.”

The wins keep piling up for Hutchinson. He also pinned opponents from Monmouth and Wiscasset and claimed a forfeit over Wells in Saturday’s meet.

Hutchinson bulked up this year after actually losing weight prior to his junior campaign.

“He and Stewart Buzzell of Monmouth went round-and-round at 145,” Gilbert said. “He beat Buzzell at regionals, and then Buzzell got him at states. Sometimes that happens. Jon Smith had 153 wins for us and he lost to Charlie Stambach of Lisbon seven times his freshman year.”

Now that the triple-digit milestone is out of the way, Hutchinson’s goal for the conclusion of his high school career is obvious.

Boothbay’s Carter and Bryce Salsbury of Dexter may be the toughest competition for Hutchinson at the state level, according to Gilbert.

“He has the potential,” Gilbert said. “We’ve had guys with 100 wins who never won states. Josh Palmer was a runner-up four years in a row. (Hutchinson) is working hard to get past that.”

Calendar challenges

Everybody enjoys a little time off now and then. And even in sports, there’s great value in a bye week to give bruises and aching joints time for healing.

Three full weeks off leading up to the biggest events of the year, though? Sounds excessive, but that’s what the Lewiston indoor track team is enduring.

Saturday was the final meet of the regular season, and it was postponed three days, at that. The Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship won’t be run until the weekend of Feb. 8.

“Colby and Bowdoin just won’t give us track time like they used to,” Lewiston coach T.J. Niles said. “Last year we had one weekend off. The year before that we had a meet the week before like we do outdoor, which is perfect.”Niles doesn’t even quite know exactly how to train all his athletes at this point, because he isn’t sure who specifically will qualify for the conference showcase. He has tried to make an educated guess by looking at results and performance lists on the Maine Milesplit website.

“Instead of doing a meet we can do another workout, sharpen more, have more time to work on blocks and stuff like that,” he said.

Not that breaks in the schedule are the worst thing in the world for Niles.

Lewiston was unable to fill a vacancy for full-time indoor track assistant this winter. Niles has three volunteer assistants who attend meets and sometimes one practice per week.

Otherwise he is alone, with a team that started with over 100 athletes and still is at close to 80 after the typical midseason dropouts.

“Good thing I’ve been doing this for five years,” Niles said. “I don’t second-guess myself anymore.”

Talking about walking

With the graduation of Nicole Court-Menendez and Abby Dunn from high school in 2012, it appeared that high school racewalking might take a step back in Maine.

“Last year was a chance for me to pull back from the national scene and reassess what I wanted to do,” said longtime local coach Tom Menendez.

It appears that Menendez is re-energized and that the talent pool is filling up nicely once again. The new group made an impressive impact at the recent Dartmouth Relays.

In the one-mile event, Sydney Sirois of St. Dom’s won the race with a national-best time of 7:44.79. Teammate Kayla Allen of Lewiston High School, placed second at 7:49.07. The third member of the group, Victoria Beliveau walked 8:48.04.

To put these times in perspective, third-place finisher Holly Lindoe was the 2013 New Balance Indoor National Champion. When these times are converted to 1,500-meter times, this places the girls in the top 10 nationally.

These times also qualified them to compete in the Milrose Games in February and qualified them for the New Balance Indoor National High School Meet in March.

This past weekend the group traveled to the Greater Boston Track Club Invitational in Boston, Sirois walked a 15:27.11 and Allen 15:40.55 for 3,000 meters. Both times were personal bests and qualified them for the the Junior National Championship Meet in Eugene, Ore., in early July.

Be of good cheer

Mountain Valley High School hosted and won the 27th annual MVC cheerleading championship on Monday, Jan. 14 at Puiia Gymnasium in Rumford.

The Falcons reclaimed the crown after Lisbon won it in 2013.

Dirigo finished second and was presented with the Spirit Award.

Business picks up for local cheering squads this week. Lewiston will shoot for its sixth consecutive KVAC title Monday at Augusta Civic Center. ACC also will host the Western Class A, B and C and Eastern A regional meets on Saturday.

A Little help?

Edward Little sits atop a mish-mash of teams chasing two-time defending Eastern A champion and reigning state champion  Hampden Academy in the KVAC. The Red Eddies are 8-5 and in second place in the Eastern A Heal Point standings despite losing starting point guard Ian Mileikis to a broken foot suffered at the end  of the football season.

“Ian’s loss is still huge for us,” Edward Little coach Mike Adams said. “Kids have stepped up and done really, really well. Luke Sterling has made himself a really good point guard. I’m really happy with his progression. But Ian just adds that one thing that no one else in our league does. He’s incredibly strong. He’s barely six feet but he can dunk off two feet. He can get into the paint. What you saw last year was just a smidgen of what he could do last summer.”

In the last month, Mileikis has had the boot removed from his broken foot and been suiting up for games. But Adams thinks it would be unrealistic at this point to expect him to make much more than a cameo appearance in the tournament, which is less than a month away.

“He’s still working to try to be able to come back for the playoffs, so I guess there is an outside shot. But I just don’t know how he could guard (another point guard),” Adams said. “But we will get him in Augusta, I promise you that. Somehow, some way.”

If Mileikis can contribute at all, he could make a big impact in February. If not for Hampden’s dominance, the regional title would be up for grabs. As is, the fight to be the next challenger to step up to the Broncos will be fascinating.

It’s safe to say that the Eddies and every other Eastern A team that makes it to Augusta will be battle tested.Through Friday, each team ranked 3-9, Oxford Hills, Messalonskee, Brunswick, Mt. Ararat, Bangor, Lawrence and Lewiston, had at least one win this season over a team ranked ahead of it in the Heals. 

“I know I say this every year.  Okay.  But if we go two or three, who are we going to play? Bangor? Oxford Hills? I don’t know,” Adams said. “Oh it’s wacky. I mean, you could see a nine seed come out. If it wasn’t for Hampden, anybody, I mean anybody, could win the East.”

Record setter

Monmouth’s Kevin Desmond set a new school record in University of Southern Maine indoor track. The junior alum of Monmouth Academy was part of a USM team that finished fourth at the Bates College Invitational Saturday.

Desmond eclipsed the school record in the 600 meters with his winning time of 1 minute, 21.82 seconds.  He broke to previous record time of 1:21.88 set by Parker Chipman in February 2010.  Desmond’s time met the qualifying standards for the New England Division III and the NEICAAA New England Championships in February.

Desmond was also part of the relay team with freshman Roger Charest, an EL grad. That team won the 4 x 400-meter relay with a season-best time of 3:24.05.

UMaine won the men’s meet with 266 points. Bates was second with 172 followed by Colby, USM and St. Joe’s. In the women’s meet, Bates won with 222.5 followed by UMaine with 148. Colby, USM and St. Joe’s followed.

Among the locals for Bates, Mt. Blue grad Addie Cullenberg was sixth in the 3,000. Lewiston’s Rudy Pandora took fifth in the shot.

The top local performers for UMaine included Connor Harris. The Auburn native took  second in the high jump and third in the triple jump. Fellow EL grad Michael Lucas was second in the 400 and fourth in the 60 hurdles.

Mt. Blue’s Kelton Cullenberg won the 3,000 for the Black Bears while Lewiston’s Mohamed Barre was sixth in the 1,000.

The UMaine women had some former EL athletes perform well. Ashten Hackett took second in the 60 hurdles. Jaclyn Masters took second in the pole vault.

For St. Joe’s, Faisal Abdillahi, a Lewiston grad, took fourth in the 800.


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