Seniors are leading the way, but they aren’t the only ones pulling their weight on the Oxford Hill’s wrestling team.

Thanks to the underclassmen, the Vikings’ 12-1 record is a total team effort.

Dillon Worster remains undefeated at 18-0 in the 195-pound class, while Jared Bellemare is 15-1 in the 126-pound division and Bristol Leahy (12-2) is prospering at 180. All three are seniors.

“They are wrestling very well this year,” Oxford Hills coach Tony Stevens said. “They are working hard. It is taking a while this year where we didn’t have wrestling in Maine last year to knock off the rust.”

Stevens said that the entire team is rapidly getting back into shape and making things happen on the mat.

Two more seniors, Cameron Strout (8-2, 182-pound class) and Hayden Riley (5-4, 182), along with juniors Bryce Atkisson (11-5, 113) and Rocco Hayden (11-2, 145) and sophomores Eitan Afrait (16-2, 170) and Dawson Mason (13-2, 220) have all had a hand in the Vikes’ success.

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Stevens said all that hard work in practice has made the Vikings a tough team to beat. He added that there have only been a couple of cases of COVID-19 on the squad.

“We’ve been fortunate that it hasn’t hit us as bad as other teams,” he said.

COVID-19 TAKES ITS TOLL

Mountain Valley’s toughest battles might just be with the coronavirus.

Falcons coach Gary Dolloff said having the entire team on the mat has been a challenge.

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

“We wrestled last weekend down to Cheverus in a tournament and I was short-handed,” he said. “I had three wrestlers who were out with COVID. We ended up taking third place still.”

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The Falcons’ Zac Putnam and Lucas Libby received Outstanding Wrestlers awards for their efforts at that meet.

“We brought 10 kids and placed eight of them,” Dolloff said. “I haven’t had my full roster wrestle together, yet. “We have lost a lot of wrestling tournaments that we have wrestled in the past because of COVID or weather. The kids should be like at 25 to 30 matches right now — and I got a couple of kids who have 18 or 19 (matches), maybe.”

Despite the coronavirus or whatever obstacles come their way, the Falcons are getting ready for the postseason tournaments.

“Hopefully, we will keep everything together and get a full team out there for regionals and states and make a run at this thing,” he said.

MAKING DO

The first thing Dirigo coach Dana Whittemore will say about the Cougars wrestling team is that they are young and lack depth.

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“I have a senior, a junior, three sophomores and three freshmen,” he said. “I graduated five last year and I had two transfer to Mountain Valley. Sophomore Eli Lindus is my 132-pounder and Andrew Wisecup is a heavyweight — he’s a freshman. They are the two most successful.”

He added that his Cougars haven’t been at full strength this season. 

“Some are … getting back (from illnesses),” he said. “Some have had COVID. One had COVID. One had the flu. We haven’t been a full team, yet. We have won one dual meet, but we are at full strength (the past Wednesday night).”

Whittemore said that despite illnesses and low numbers, he believes that his Cougars will make some noise come tourney time.

“At every tournament, I have had three or four kids there,” he said. “We have placed at least three in the top four. What I have is solid, but I don’t have a lot of numbers.”


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