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Cougar wrestlers place third in state
AUGUSTA -- The opportunity was in full sight, however, the Dirigo wrestling team fell shy of its goal in one of the closest Class C state meets in recent memory with a third-place finish on Saturday.
The Cougars (120 points) placed behind Foxcroft Academy (128) and Lisbon (122).
Dirigo stayed in contention throughout the long day at Augusta Civic Center and trailed Foxcroft by narrow margins. The battle waged on into the medal rounds. Dirigo had eight individuals place in the top four of their respective weight classes, including champion D.J. Webber (160 pounds). The sophomore pinned Zac Smith of Foxcroft in the first period. Webber placed as a freshman also.
Caleb Hall advanced to the finals, but had a huge task in trying to deny Forrest Cornell of Lisbon in his quest for a fourth straight state title. Hall, who won a state championship two seasons ago in the same venue, proved up to the challenge. The Lisbon senior had a takedown and an escape for a 3-0 decision to become the 15th Maine wrestler to win four championships.
“We had a chance, things were lined up,” said Dirigo coach Doug Gilbert. “Still, I thought my freshmen and sophomores who came in here for the first time performed well. It can be intimidating.”
The veteran coach was referring to the eight mats and thousands of fans at the Augusta Civic Center. The matches are continuous, so it can affect an individual mentally.
Six Cougars reached the consolation finals and in tournaments, the additional points are critical. Placing third was Bryan Blackman with a major decision at 145 and Nelson Pepin stuck his opponent at 171. Brett Whittemore (125) and Jesse Hutchinson (135) each lost 6-4 decisions to place fourth. Freshman Thomas Barnett was fourth at 152 and Alex Snowman lost a hard-fought 10-9 decision for fourth place at 189.
Dylan Sattler (103), Eric Holman (112), Adam Gill (130), Ryan Lemay (140) and Jack Brown (285) competed also.
Lisbon raced ahead of Dirigo with five individual champions in Nick McNamara (103), Zach Stevens (112), Cornell (119), Josh Pomerleau (125), Mike McNamara (135) and Matt Nicholson (140). Lisbon scored 26 team points, four for each decision and six points for each pin.