Daylight savings time won’t be doing them any favors in the middle of the two-day event, but Maine wrestlers in Methuen, Massachusetts for the 56th annual New England Wrestling Championships aren’t going to let that stand in the way of giving everything they’ve got to make it to Sunday.

Wrestlers from Lisbon/Oak Hill, Mt. Blue and Oxford Hills are among over 400 set to compete in 14 weight classes at Methuen High School. Wrestling begins at 10 a.m. Saturday and continues throughout the day and evening, then resumes at 11 a.m. on Sunday with the championship semifinals and consolation quarterfinals.

The Maine contingent includes Lisbon seniors Cam Bourget, Dan Bolton and Jack Tibbetts, Oxford Hills senior Jeffrey Worster and his younger brother, sophomore Dillon Worster and Mt. Blue junior Tucker Nicholas. All qualifiers from Maine secured a spot by finishing in the top three in their weight class in last Saturday’s qualifier held at Noble High School.

Jeffrey Worster, who earned his first Class A state championship on Feb. 15, is seeded second in the 220-pound class. Last year, Worster finished fifth in the weight class at New Englands. Beau Dillon of Salem, New Hampshire, who won the 195 championship last year, is the top seed.

Bourget and Dillon Worster battled to overtime for the 182-pound championship before Bourget, the state Class B champion, prevailed, 3-1. Bourget is seeded second in the bracket and earned a bye to the Round of 16.

Lisbon/Oak Hill coach Ted Albasini said Bourget has been battling a back injury suffered during Lisbon’s Class D state championship football season.

“It’s just been hard work,” Albasini said. “He’s been focused on it for seven years. He’s a guy who works his butt off every day, even though he’s had back problems all season.”

Albasini said Bourget faces one of the more daunting brackets in the tournament but has revenge for additional motivation. Bourget went 40-0 in the state this year, 43-2 overall. The two losses came to wrestlers from Timberlane Regional High School in Plaistow, New Hampshire and Essex, Vermont who are also competing in this week’s tournament.

“Cam’s got two of the best wrestlers in the tournament that he could be facing,” Albasini said. “If he wrestles well, he can move up and possibly place.”

Nicholas and Bolton will both compete at 170 after finishing second and third, respectively, at the qualifier. Bolton will start in the Round of 32 while Nicholas, the eighth seed, earned a by to the Round of 16.

Tibbetts, the 132-pound runner-up at the qualifier, will start in the Round of 32.

Bolton and Tibbetts seem to be peaking at the right time and could be surprises in their respective weight classes, said Albasini. The Lisbon wrestlers have been trying to maintain their edge this week by practicing with members of the state Class A runner-up Mt. Ararat/Brunswick team, which is sending four wrestlers to New Englands.

“They’ve been practicing all week with kids from Mt. Ararat/Brunswick at Hyde,” Albasini said. “I’ve been telling them to just go hard and have fun.”

 


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