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Dirigo wrestlers take PTL west regionals
GARDINER -- Dirigo received strong performances last Saturday to win the Pine Tree Wrestling League West Regional.
The Cougars had been delibrate throughout the day and Tucker Barnett clinched the deal by winning a crown at 131 pounds as the Cougars scored 184.5 points to hold off rival Mountain Valley (174) at Gardiner Area High School.
It figured to be a two-team race between the Cougars and Falcons, and that's exactly what transpired. Every match was important and each coach maintained close tabs on results.
It was the Falcons who proved to have the most quality with champions Ethan Boucher Caleb Austin (110), Eddie DeRoche (117) and Kyle Farrar (138), respectively. Oxford Hills finished third (123) with champions Sabastian Evans (170) and John Blake (190).
Dirigo held a slim one-point lead, but 48 points in consolation semifinals (five advancement points, plus two for a pin) to open up a 30-point lead.
“I had said that byes and pins would be keys,” said Dirigo coach Dana Whittemore. ''The con SF was big for us, but my kids came to wrestle today and we had some upsets early on that helped.”
Dirigo qualified 13 and Mountain Valley nine in the top four in each weight class to compete in the league championships at Camden Hills this Saturday. The West and East regional will each have their place-winners orders of finish reversed.
Mountain Valley pulled to within five points in the finals, which included winning two head-to-head matches against the Cougars. Boucher shutout Hunter White 6-0 and after Austin pinned Abram Sirois of Monmouth, DeRoche held on for a 2-0 decision against Bryce Whittemore.
In the third period, Whittemore attempted a reversal, but DeRoche clenched a leg that prevented Whittemore from spinning behind.
"I just knew that I needed to hold him down," said DeRoche, who had split with Whittemore during season. "We both expected it to be a close competitive match.
The match was scoreless until DeRoche executed a takedown as the buzzer sounded at end of first period.
Two matches later, Barnett won a 13-4 major decision over Mike Harper (SaWaLi) to secure the team title. The Cougars had six finalists, including Wyatt Lufkin (82), Colin Woodhead (124) and Dalton Berry (210).
Mountain Valle needed to pick up the pace after Noah Dumas of Augusta stuck previously unbeaten Josh Thibodeau in 41 seconds at 75.
''Noah was a bit skeptical going in,'' said Augusta coach Nate Gurney, a former Dirigo wrestler who won a state championship on high school team. ''Josh has had a good year.''
Farrar stuck Christian Chapetta of Mount Ararat in 45 seconds. Hawk teammate Mike Arsenault was pinned by Blake in the final.
The Hawks' Vinnie DeRoche (82), Isaac Therrien (124) and Tyler Brown (170) each stuck opponents to place third. Brown, a first year wrestler, caught Avery Bradeen of Dirigo.
''Yes, every match was important,'' said MV coach Anthony Mazza. ''Unfortunately, we lost a few to Dirigo early on. I thought we'd be taking more wrestlers to leagues, but we've got some quality kids .''
The Cougars won two of seven con-final matches, with pins by Jon Wainwright and Ivan Luu each third at 89 and 145.