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Falcons capture Atlantic Invitational
WELLS -- An extended stay proved fruitful for the Mountain Valley wrestling team who flexed their muscles to win the Atlantic Invitational with 126.5 points, which included individual champions Ryan Burgess (119 pounds), Josh Thornton (145) and Taylor Carey (171).
The Falcons scored 126.5 points to outdistance Marshwood (104) and Lisbon (101). The previous evening, the team finished fifth (154.5) at the two-day Noble Invitational.
At the Atlantic, Burgess seemingly clinched the team title in the final by decisioning Forrest Cornell of Lisbon, 5-1. It was the second straight day Burgess prevailed between the multiple state champions. Thornton and Carey each pinned opponents, while Josh Allen (189) and Christian Durland (215) were each finalists. Durland lost a 2-1 heartbreaker to Nick Wells of Oak Hill. Ryan Glover (285) and Joe Provencher (135) placed third and fourth, respectively.
The Falcons scored 94 points on the first day at Noble, trailing third-place Belfast by three points. Six wrestlers had advanced to the semifinals. Allen won the championship by sticking Mike Hamm of Oak Hill. Burgess lost 8-5 to Jordan Young of Belfast. Burgess decisioned Young 3-2 at the McDonalds finals.
Taylor Carey (160) was a finalist. Nicole Burgess (112) placed sixth. The team stayed in Southern Maine because after wrestling at Noble; it would have meant returning home late and leaving the next morning at 4:45 to go back to Wells.
"It just made sense to stay over the extra night,” said MV AD John Bernard. “The only problem is the added cost, but you have to do what is best for the kids.”
The Dirigo wrestling team had their meet in Fryeburg postponed, but there were bigger fish to fry. The youthful Cougars had an opportunity to redeem themselves at the Atlantic.
Coach Doug Gilbert had a simple message for the team in Wells -- look for improvement from McDonald's.
“The youngsters are getting better,” said Gilbert, who starts three freshmen and six sophomores. “We have a decent dual meet team (6-1), we have to improve for tournaments."
Brett Whittemore, state finalist, was shown the lights by the two-time state champion in the 125 final. Eric Holman (112), Caleb Hall (119) and DJ Webber (160) each placed third.
“We just need to get some more tournament experience for the rest of the team,” said Gilbert. “The team has great potential, but they need to wrestle for those thirds and fourths. We'll be fine.”