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Cougars sixth in wrestling final
REGION -- Dirigo had plenty of spunk entering the Pine Tree Wrestling League championships as the competition proved to be extremely tough.
Still the Cougars finished a respectable sixth, scoring 64 points. It became evident early on that Troy Howard was head and shoulders above the rest. The Belfast-based school, led with three individual champions and four placed third.
Dirigo's lone finalist was Tucker Barnett (19-1) who lost a 12-1 major decision to Trent Goodman of Hancock Area at 131. Bennett had been unbeaten.
In the West Regional, the Cougars had been focused throughout the day and Barnett clinched the deal by winning a crown at 131 pounds as the Cougars scored 184.5 points to hold off rival Mountain Valley at 174 at Gardiner Area High School.
The Cougars earned four medals in the championships.
Hunter White had a 6-2 decision at 103 and Bryce Whittemore at 117 each placed third for Dirigo. White (20-5) wrestled well, with a lone loss was to the eventual champ. Bryce Whittemore's (22-3) lone loss was in overtime to the eventual champion, Peyton Cole. Bryce did tie his older brother Brett with his first win and then went on to set the new Dirigo Middle School career win record at 79 wins.
Colin Woodhead lost 6-0 to Isaac Therrin of Mountain Valley in the 124 consolation finals.
The Cougars had qualified 13 but entered 11 as they lost two wrestlers for varying reasons, but did end up as the top class C school. Coach Dana Whittemore recapped the team, ''Victor Verrill (75) weighed 58 pounds and always gave up at least 15 pounds and wrestled well all season. Wyatt Lufkin (82) showed huge improvements from last year and wrestled tough all season. Jon Wainwright (89) turned the corner late in the season and wrestled his best the final two tourneys. Chase Thebarge, (96) a first-year wrestler was remarkable. He gave everything he had and was in every match. Cam Turner and Ivan Luu were first-year wrestlers who showed incredible promise and grit. Alex Ferland (155) shows flashes of great potential.
''We, as coaches were very pleased with the improvement of the younger wrestlers and the leadership shown by our outgoing eighth graders. ''I want to let you know that I was extremely proud of all of my wrestlers."