Daniel Bolton, Cam Bourget and Jack Tibbetts ether have reached or will reach 100 career victories this season. The Lisbon/Oak Hill wrestlers have bigger goals in mind. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LISBON — Lisbon’s wrestling tradition is such that having three wrestlers reach the 100-win career milestone in the same season isn’t that unusual. Lisbon/Oak Hill co-coach Ted Albasini recalls one year where as many as five wrestlers crossed the threshold.

Lisbon has never had a season where nearly half the team has reached 100 wins, but that will be the case in 2020 when, barring injury, three seniors — Daniel Bolton, Cam Bourget and Jack Tibbetts, enter the century club.

Bourget and Tibbetts reached the milestone at the Noble Invitational right after Christmas.

“We’ve worked four years for this and it’s finally paying off, so it was a real awesome experience,” Tibbetts said.

Bolton, slowed early in the season by a shoulder injury suffered during Lisbon’s Class D state championship football run, is seven wins shy of the mark.

“It’s a big accomplishment,” he said. “But I feel like it’s another achievement that comes with the sport.”

Above any career milestones they achieve this year, Bolton, Bourget and Tibbetts are all focused on getting one more win than last year. All three lost in the Class B state championship match for their respective weight class, and all agree capping their careers with a state title and a trip to the New England championships would eclipse surpassing 100 career wins.

Lisbon/Oak Hill’s Cam Bourget looks to the referee for a call as he attempts to pin Richmond’s Parker Gagnon during a wrestling meet at Oak Hill High School earlier this month. Eric Maxim/The Times Record

“I think they’re all prepped to become state champions,” Albasini said.

The three seniors serve as captains for the tiny Lisbon/Oak Hill contingent, which despite having just seven wrestlers for most tournaments still manages to outscore all but three or four bigger teams.

“We’ve only got seven kids on our team and we’ve placed in the top five in every tournament we’ve been to because these guys are always getting to the finals,” Albasini said.

“If we had a full team, we’d probably be the top team for our class,” Bourget said. “We have the people to place. We just need the people to get a couple of other wins to place as a team.”

Bourget, who wrestles in the 182-pound weight class, is unbeaten this season and has won five tournaments, including Saturday’s Skowhegan Invitational. Tibbetts, who wrestles at 132 pounds, has two losses this season but has already avenged both. Bolton, a 170-pounder, has been a podium regular but is trying to add some tournament titles to his resume as his health improves.

Albasini said it isn’t the trio’s physical talent that makes them so successful but their mental approach to matches and practices.

“They’re all cerebral, very smart wrestlers,” Albasini said. “They don’t take a lot of chances, but they calculate their matches and they win them.”

Lisbon/Oak Hill’s Jack Tibbetts finishes off a Monmouth’s grappler during Wednesday’s wrestling match at Oak Hill High School earlier this month. Eric Maxim/The Times Record

“I’ve coached them since middle school,” said Albasini, who will go out with the senior trio when he retires from coaching after 19 years in Lisbon wrestling at the end of this season. “They’ve committed to it. We’ve had small teams and the whole time they’ve been the guys that have been leading everybody. They just work real hard. They’re natural born leaders. They set the example here at practices every day.”

The senior trio has been around long enough to know that their dedication to the sport isn’t typical.

“It’s definitely a grind,” Tibbetts said. “We’re in here, some days two to three hours, every day, just working as hard as we can. We don’t have to be here. We push ourselves really hard, especially us three to try to lead this team and get some numbers back. It’s hard, but it’s about being mentally tough.

“And that’s really what we train and what our coaches train us for, to be mentally strong. If you can do that on a mat, you can do it anywhere else in life, as well.”

They certainly have to learn to adapt to their small roster. Finding a practice partner close to one’s weight class can frequently be a challenge, if not impossible.

Lisbon/Oak Hill’s Dan Bolton tries to take down Monmouth’s Logan Farr during a wrestling meet at Oak Hill High School earlier this month. Eric Maxim/The Times Record

“It’s hard to get the real feel for knowing your size because you’re either wrestling with your coach, who’s either too heavy or too strong, or you wrestle one of the real little guys. It’s hard to find a happy medium,” Tibbetts said. “We work with what we can and we still go and give it our all every match.”

“We’re always pushing each other on the mat and here at practice,” Bourget said. “Danny’s my practice partner. Jack will sometimes wrestle with me. He’s faster than me, so that helps me out. So we all help each other, even with the weight differences.”

The trio emphasizes being aggressive and taking full advantage of scoring opportunities that, thanks to their vast experience, they can now almost predict before they actually present themselves.

“We work on shots quite a bit,” Bolton said. “We drill on takedowns over and over and over, just so we don’t have to think about shooting or setting it up. Last year, I took shots but I wasn’t really setting them up. But I got better towards the end of the year. This year, I’ve already progressed to where I was last year and it’s time to get better.”


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