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Cougar wrestling preview
DIXFIELD -- A team can be successful throughout the season, but then falter when everything is on the line and Dirigo experienced it firsthand.
This current group of wrestlers is hungry and will have an opportunity to take care of some unfinished business. Exactly how far the Cougars will go remains to be seen, however, it's safe to say any momentum must come from inside.
"Last year's team won more tournaments and more dual meets than any team in Dirigo history,” said coach Doug Gilbert, referring to 25-3 record (champs of McDonald's Invitational, Nokomis Invitational, Mid-State League and Western Maine Regional, and runner-up Kennebunk Duals). “And all but two of 14 starters are back. Expectations are very high."
The major flaw was finishing a disappointing fourth at the state meet.
The returnees include Misty Steward (112, sr.), Dexter Verrill (119, so.), Reilley Lombardi (132, sr.), Jesse Hutchinson (145, jr.), Brett Whittemore (152, sr.), Julian Baldinelli (160, jr.), Thomas Barnett (160,sr.), DJ Webber (170, sr.), Nelson Pepin (182, sr.), Gavin Sanders (182, jr.), Alex Snowman (195, sr.), Zack White (220, sr.) and Cliff Boynton (285, sr.).
Several scored in states and having performed under pressure will serve as an incentive. Baldinelli and Barnett each reached the finals. Sanders and White each placed third, while Whittemore, Hutchinson and Snowman were fourth. Additional points could be earned by 2011 state champion Webber and Pepin.
This will offset the loss of Eric Holman (fourth at state) and two-time state champion Caleb Hall (132).
Gilbert and assistant Dana Whittemore realize it’s a long season, so having a plan in place will be an asset. The team might be on a roll, but the level of competitiveness needs to be executed when it counts.
There are some newcomers that will make an immediate impact, freshman Griffyn Smith (106) especially. Also Gus Brown (119, fr.), Dylan Lord (138, fr.), Spencer Trenoweth (182, sr.), Loren Keim (160, sr.). Lucas 'Bull' MacDonald (180, fr.), Spencer Vaughn (152, fr.), Timothy White (106, fr.).
The Cougars will be pushed by Winslow in the west, and Foxcroft and Dexter in the East.
"Who stays healthy will win the state championship," warned Gilbert.