Cougar grapplers runnerup at Atlantic
Zack White (top), seen here in the McDonald's, placed third at 220 for Dirigo at Atlantic. (Times photo by Bruce Farrin)
Brett Whittemore (top), seen here in the McDonald's, placed third at 152 for Dirigo at Atlantic. (Times photo by Bruce Farrin)
WELLS -- It certainly took awhile to get things going, but the Dirigo wrestling team was determined to let several performances be the final word and that proved decisive at the Atlantic Invitational held at Wells High School.
Dirigo was led by individual champion by Griffyn Smith (106 pounds) and finalist Nelson Pepin (182) as the team rallied to finish runnerup with 133 points. It was a team effort as the Cougars placed nine in the top four of the 14 weight classes.
Wells had taken a 109-100 lead over the Cougars early in the consolation finals and coach Doug Gilbert remarked that the team had its work cut out. The wrestlers heeded the message by winning six of the seven matches, with third places by Jesse Hutchinson (145), Brett Whittermore (152), Thomas Barnett (160), Lucas McDonald (195), Zack White (220) and Cliff Boynton (285). DJ Webber was fourth at 170.
Smith began the finals by pinning Darren LaPointe of Marshwoocd in 1:24. The Cougar freshman executed the takedown and secured an inside cradle, but LaPointe's shoulder were out of bounds.
''I knew that I needed to drag him inside the circle,'' said Smith, who then tilted the Hawk wrestler twice before settling in. ''Yes, I was determined to keep that cradle.''
Smith, who also won the McDonald's, is the first-ever Cougar freshman to win two tournaments.
''I thought it would be a lot tougher, but I caught him,'' said Smith, who is 15-0.
Pepin executed two standing escapes in the second period and led 4-3 entering the final two minutes. Brett Gerry escaped and then maintained an attack mode, before taking Pepin to the mat with 1:07 left. The Cougar senior could not break free and lost, 6-4.
Marshwood proved to be the class of the field, 257.5 points, winning nine of 12 finals. Dirigo had been on a mission and finished fifth (79 points) in the 2011 Atlantic, scored 43 points in the 2012 consolation semifinal (five for win, plus two for a pin). McDonald decisioned Zack Cross of Mountain Valley, 8-5.
The Cougars' momentum in the consolation finals (three points, plus two for pin), with sticks by Whittemore, Barnett, McDonald and Boynton.
Hutchinson, who returned from a broken wrist, won a 3-1 decision. White had led 13-7 in a championship semifinal match, but held on to a head and arm to long, and was stuck. The Mid State League was well represented by the Cougars, Lisbon, Wells, York, Fryeburg, Oak Hill and Mountain Valley.
“The senifinals were disappointing for us,” said Gilbert, as they lost five of seven matches. “Thomas (Barnett) lost and then Zack (each in third period), but to their credit they wrestled back.”
In tournament with three mats, teammates competed several times simultaneously, including the opening, with Misty Steward, beside Smith, who decisioned Nicole Burgess of MV, 7-3.