Tresdon Mills works with teammate Gabe Winson during wrestling practice at Mountain Valley High School recently. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Mountain Valley senior captains Grant Carrier and Tresdon Mills know how to handle themselves on and off a wrestling mat.

The two athletes are good friends, share a passion for wrestling and are equally excited for this season — especially after COVID-19 put the kibosh on the sport the past year. 

Carrier and Mills have already planned their future well ahead of their graduation in 2022. Carrier will take an apprenticeship as a lineman and Mills is heading straight into the United States Marine Corps as an infantryman next summer.

“They are definitely going to be our go-to players this year,” Mountain Valley coach Gary Dolloff said. “Tresdon is learning as he goes. He has never been in that (leadership) situation. I can see as we started that he is already taking little steps and making sure that he is telling his teammates where to be …making sure they always come to practice — and Grant has been a leader for a long time.”

‘FELL IN LOVE WITH IT’

Dolloff added that Mills has put in a lot of his own time to become a better wrestler and has come a long way in competitions the past five years.

Mills, who wrestles in the 220-pound class and also is on the Falcons’ football and track and field teams, began participating as a Mountain Valley grappler five years ago. He sees sports as an outlet and as a way to keep in shape and busy.

“Wrestling has always been an (outlet) for me,” Mills, who stands at 6-foot-3, said. “You grow up in Rumford and you have all these kids doing bad things, but at the end of the day, you can show up to the mat and can be who you truly are.

“I was always kind of this shy, unathletic kid growing up. I was always a big, tall dude. These coaches in the middle school kept pushing (wrestling) on me … I came down to one of the practices and I kind of just fell in love with it.”

Tresdon Mills wrestles in the 220-pound weight class for Mountain Valley High School. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Dolloff, who also coached at the middle school, said wrestling was a game-changer in Mills’ life.

“He is a totally a different kid from now as a senior to when he first walked into the high school as freshman,” Dolloff said. “He had a little chip on his shoulder and we kind of chipped that away. He found something he really loved.”

Mills said his combination of strength and speed, especially for someone his size, gives him an edge on the mat. He adds that his favorite moves are ankle picks and blast doubles. 

“(A blast double) is kind of like a football tackle,” he said. “I also like to say I like my explosiveness on the mat.”

Mills said the Falcons should be prosperous this season for a variety of reasons.

“I think we are going to be great this year,” he said. “We are stacked in all the weight classes. Most of the kids are showing up every day, ready to go. We are looking really good.”

LONGTIME LEADER

Carrier wrestles in the 145-pound class and has been taking his skills to the matt since he was 4 years old.

“I have been doing it a long time,” Carrier said. “I just love that individual sport. You make a mistake, it is all on you. There is nobody to place the blame on.”

Grant Carrier wrestles in the 145-pound weight class for Mountain Valley High School. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

“He is just a great kid,” Dolloff said. “He has always been a leader since he was young. He missed out on his football season because he had a concussion. I think he wanted to make a name for himself in football and he didn’t get that chance.

“He loves wrestling and he has such tenacity. He knows his time is nearly done in high school, so this is his last big hurrah.” 

Carrier said his go-to move is the arm bar, and he has developed this uncanny strategy of reading and predicting an opponent’s moves. Carrier has made it to a handful of finals and won the Cheverus Invitational and finished in second place at the Atlantic Invitational.

“I feel it when people are trying to set me up for something,” Carrier said of his ability figure out opponents’ next move.

Like Mills, Carrier’s confidence is running high for the upcoming wrestling season.

Grant Carrier works on drills with teammate Johnah Byam during wrestling practice at Mountain Valley High School recently. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

“I’ve been more confident in this team than I ever have been, coming through middle school,” Carrier said. “I feel like we all have been wrestling with each other for quite a while. Now we are just coming together and putting the work in. We will have a full team. Every weight class is full.

“I am just looking forward to getting back on the mat,” he said. “We didn’t have a season last year. I am just looking forward to getting back out there.”

Dolloff concurs with his senior captains that the Falcons will fare well this season.

“We have a bunch of seniors that are going to lead some freshmen and sophomores into maturity,” he said. “By the time we get to the end of the season, we are going to be a team to be reckoned with.”

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.