Oxford Hills’ Cole Dunham, left, wrestles Morse’ Ihsan Myers in the 182-pound final during the KVAC meet Saturday at Cony High School In Augusta. (Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan)

AUGUSTA — Camden Hills wrestling coach Patrick Kelly had a feeling the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships were going to come down to the last round — perhaps even the last match.

“I knew it was going to be close,” he said.

He was right. Camden Hills held off Mt. Ararat by only 4.5 points, 178-173.5, to win the KVAC Class A title at Cony High School on Saturday.

Oxford Hills was third at 115.5, followed by Nokomis (94.5) and Cony (94), which was competing without two-time defending state champion Nic Mills after he underwent season-ending knee surgery on Thursday.

“I expected it to be this close,” said Kelly, whose team got wins from Dawson Allen at 132 pounds, Ian Henderson at 138 and Noah Lang at 145. “All day long, hundreds of wrestlers, for hours and hours and hours, and at the end it comes down to a few points. … Mt. Ararat’s a great squad, they’re going to come after us next weekend, but tonight we celebrate.”

Medomak Valley, led by first-place finishes from Elias Miller at 160 and Erik Benner at 285, totaled 138 points to earn the Class B title ahead of Belfast (65), Mount View (52), Winslow (31) and MCI (27).

“The kids were clicking and wrestling hard,” Medomak Valley coach William Bramhall said. “It all came together and worked out well for us.”

One of the day’s individual highlights came from Cony’s Noah Dumas, who set the program’s all-time wins total when he pinned Oxford Hills’ Cesar Montelongro in the 106-pound semifinals for his 188th career victory.

“It’s awesome,” Dumas said. “It’s a goal I set as a freshman, and it feels just amazing to finally do it.”

Dumas wasn’t done, fulfilling his top seeding beating Camden Hills’s Eric Andrews 9-0 in the final for the title, his second straight.

“It feels great, especially as a senior. I want to finish my season the right way,” he said. “I’m used to (pressure) at this point. I clear my head and know I’ve got to get it done.”

Nokomis rode a pair of individual titles to its fourth-place showing. Tyler Preble had the first, pinning three straight opponents en route to the 120-pound championship.

Preble said he made sure not to take any opponent in front of him lightly.

“(You need to) give everything you’ve got, every second you can,” he said. “Don’t stop. If you let up, you lose.”

Caleb Carrell got Nokomis’s second first-place showing, following the same three-pin formula Preble used. His last one came when he finished off Medomak’s Marshall Sawyer in only 43 seconds in the final.

“This is the first year I’ve won this tournament. This is the first year I’ve won a lot of tournaments. I’m pretty happy,” said Carrell, whose three pins took a combined 2:35. “Coach was telling me, at the beginning of every match, ‘Early and often. Take the first shot.’”

Nokomis had a shot at a third title when defending state champion James Boyd reached the final at 220 pounds, but he was beaten by Oxford Hills’ Jeffrey Worster, who took a quick 5-2 lead and never let Boyd get the upper hand.

“My whole, main goal today was making the finals to wrestle Boyd, because he beat me last time,” Worster said. “He caught me. I wanted to make a statement. … I wanted to set the tone early.”

Another local victory went to Mount View’s Mark Ward, who prevailed at 152 pounds over Mt. Ararat’s Ben Laurence. It wasn’t without drama, as Ward held a 3-1 lead late, but lost it when Laurence got two points for a takedown with 42 seconds left. Ward kept his poise, however, earning a point for an escape with 20 seconds to go, then evading Laurence’s last attempts to steal the win.

“I was thinking either sit there and take it to overtime, or get the one and hold him off,” he said. “The ‘oh no’ feeling didn’t come about, it was more ‘How do I want to go about winning?’ ”

Ward, whose had a penchant for close wins this season and throughout his career, had reason to feel comfortable.

“I don’t think of it much, because my freshman year, I won all my matches by one or I lost them all by one,” he said. “So getting into close matches like that is not something I’m unfamiliar with.”

Mt. Ararat got individual titles from Brycen Kowalsky (113, 12-0) and Mason Hultman (170, 12-4). Morse got a 4-3 win from Ihsan Myers at 182, while Belfast’s Brian White won 11-2 at 195.

The crowd watches Camden Hills’ Noah Lang, left, and Mt. Blue’s Hayden Nile tangle in the 145-pound championship at the KVAC meet Saturday at Cony High School In Augusta. (Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan)

Oxford Hills’ Cole Dunham wrestles Morse’ Ihsan Myers in the 182-pound final during the KVAC meet Saturday at Cony High School In Augusta. (Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan)


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