Maine wrestlers’ confidence was high and the Pine Tree State contingent refused to let up en route to its most successful showing ever in the 31st annual Maine/Nebraska Friendship Series.

Mainers gained some momentum and it turned in to a snowball effect, which was certainly dominating and decisive. At the first of four venues through out the Cornhusker state, the Maine continent rolled to a 65-10 win at Fairbury Jeffs Gymnasium It is Maine’ biggest margin of victory in the history of the exchange. The Maine momentum continued with wins at Hastings, 62-12, and Central City, 81-13. The final meet at Columbus was billed as the most competitive, however, Maine held its own.

Several Maine wrestlers compiled outstanding records during the week-long trip. They included Danny Buteau (3-1) of Oak Hill; Griffyn Smith (4-0) of Dirigo; Mountain Valley’s Caleb Austin and Ethan Boucher, each 4-0; Peter DelGallo (4-1) of Gardiner; Bradley Beaulieu, Jackson Howarth and Brett Gerry of Marshwood, combined 12-1, respectively; Cody Craig (4-1), Julian Sirois and Logan Stevens of Skowhegan, Trent Goodman of Ellsworth and Nat Beckwith of Winslow each compiled winning records.

At Fairbury, Buteau jump started the eventual onslaught by winning 4-2 in overtime at 116-pounds. The Raiders’ two-time Class B state champion executed a takedown in the extra secession.

Smith, three-time Class c state champion, pinned Jacob Kubicka (Adams Central) and won a 2-0 decision over Nolan Berry (Adams Central). Buteau won 2-0. Boucher, two-time Class B state champion, won 2-0 in overtime and Sirois prevailed 4-2 in overtime. Under the lights on a football field at Central City, Maine eclipsed its winning margin. Boucher and Buteau each won close decisions, with pins by Craig, Austin, DelGallo (former New England champion), Beaulieu (2015 New England finalist, was by far the best wrestler and was named most outstanding wrestler) of Marshwood put Maine in a commanding lead. Howath, four-time Class A state champion, earned All-American Honorable Mention recently by Wrestling USA Magazine.

The Maine coaches are Matt Rix of Marshwood and Brooke Thompson of Skowhegan.

”These boys were extremely impressive on the mat with a constant attacking style and superior defensive and scrambling ability,” Maine team leader Bob Craig said. ”They made Maine proud!”

Even in set backs, Maine was highly competitive. Craig lost 4-2 in OT, Austin of Mountain Valley was edged 3-1 and Gerry 3-2. Austin won the Wally Lafountain sportsmanship award. The prestigious exchange was created in 1985 and is the longest running exchange between two states in the entire country.

Craig helped enhance conditioning and team chemistry by having organized practices every week

Other team members included Peyton Cole, Ellsworth; Kameron Doucette, Skowhegan and Pierce Knorr, Mt. Ararat.

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