Locals ready for state wrestling
REGION -- There will be a lot on the line when wrestling teams from Mountain Valley and Dirigo perform on the wrestling mats this weekend at its respective state championships.
Of course these important events have each been delayed an entire week, so it means the individual wrestlers and the teams will have had to remain focused and determined toward striving for the elusive goals.
It's adversity at its best because the state meets were scheduled to be showcased at the Augusta Civic Center last weekend. But the storm forced the entire event to be cancelled and the three state meets will be contested at separate venues. Class A is at Sanford, Class B is at Fryeburg Academy and Class C is at Foxcroft Academy.
This delay isn't unprecedented because in 1996 inclement weather forced the state to bed postponed. When wrestling resumed, there was mixed results because Dirigo and coach Glenn Gurney won the program's second-ever state title. Meanwhile Mountain Valley fell shy in Rumford.
Dirigo will have a tough task when it ventures into hostile territory at defending two-time state champion Foxcroft for the second time in three years. It figures to be a two-team race between the Cougars and the Ponies. Dirigo has relied on its depth throughout the season and all 12 qualified wrestlers will need to score on the big stage.
The Cougars regional champions include Griffyn Smith (106 pounds), Jesse Hutchinson (145), Brett Whittemore (152), Thomas Barnett (160), DJ Webber (170), Nelson Pepin (182) and Zack White (220).
There will be several potential matchups, beginning with Smith, who is an unbeaten freshman. Hutchinson and Stuart Buzzell of Monmouth have traded wins against each other throughout the season. Whittemore and state champion Wesley Stinson of Foxcroft Barnett, finalist last year, and Webber was a 2011 state champion.
Also, there is Misty Steward (113), Gus Brown (120), Reilly Lombardi (132), Lucas MacDonald (195) and Cliff Boynton (285). In Class B, Dakota Jacques of Mountain Valley won a regional championship at 132.
Fryeburg brothers Connor Sheehan (113) and Zach (113) each could repeat as state champions at the home arena. Look for strong performances by the Falcons' Jake Thornton (120) and Brandon Gill (126), who must get by Dagon Berenyi of Belfast and Colin Sevigney of Wells; Ian Austin (152), Mike Provencher (113), Anthony Boucher (182) and Zach Cross (195).
Camden Hills is favored to win its 10th state championship since 2000.