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Trio ready for NE wrestling
REGION -- It will be a major challenge for a trio of Dirigo wrestlers who have prepared to compete at the next level at the 49th Annual New England Interscholastic Wrestling Championships.
The nature of the beast will be evident in the two-day event at the Providence Career and Technical Center, Providence, Rhode Island.
The Cougars champions included Griffyn Smith (106 pounds), Thomas Barnett (160) and Nelson Pepin (182). It will be the initial time for all three to compete in the New England
Smith, who is 44-0 as a freshman, earned a hard fought 2-0 win against Dylan Hanscom of Dexter at the Class C state meet.
"I just went out and wrestled hard," said Smith following the match. "He was stronger than me, so I couldn't muscle him and used my legs."
Dirigo won Mid State League and the western regional in the postseason.
There will be several key matchups. Bennett and Pepin each pinned Foxcroft opponents. "It feels great," said Barnett, who was a state finalist in 2012. "A lot of work went in to this and it all paid off."
Pepin overpowered Corbin Bruce.
Last year, Maine won seven medals, including Brent Waterman of Belfast, who won an individual championship at 132 pounds.
Waterman will not defend his crown because he sprained an ankle the morning of the state meet and did not wrestle. Fryeburg’s Connor Sheehan (113) has placed fourth the previous two years.
Former Dirigo wrestler Jon Smith reached the NE finals in 2009 and Danny Waite placed fourth (2000) in New England. Each earned High School All American status by Wrestling USA Magazine.
The action isn’t intended for the faint of heart at the double-elimination tournament. It’s taken one match at a time. There is no reason to look ahead.
The strategy doesn’t allow for feeling out an opponent- so being defensive styles won’t suffice. A snap down or hard jerk forces him to step forward, shoot immediately and keep shooting multiple shots. The top competition reacts quickly and maintaining intensity counter acts it.
Other returning Maine medalists include (second) Dan DelGallo (138), Gardiner; (fifth) Cody Hughes (152), Marshwood and (sixth) Jared Jensen (170), Brunswick. Tyler Davidson (120) of Marshwood is a four-time Maine state champion.
Timberlane, NH (77 points) is three-time defending team champion. Belfast (27) and Marshwood (24) were the highest ranking Maine teams in 2012.