The Penobscot Valley of Howland wrestling team gave its head coach, Gerald “Hutch” Hutchinson, quite a retirement present.
After placing fourth at the PVC championships and third at the Class C qualifying meet, the Howlers finished second at last Saturday’s Class C state championships hosted by Dexter Regional High School.
Pre-meet favorite Lisbon won the event with 191 points, followed by Penobscot Valley (141) and Dexter (120).
“I was ecstatic,” said Hutchinson, who is stepping down as the PVHS coach after a career that has produced more than 500 dual-meet victories. “We brought nine kids to the meet, and all nine medaled.”
Hutchinson said two keys to the Howlers’ upward mobility during the postseason were dropping senior Nate Hatch from 160 pounds to 145 and bumping classmate Tony Jipson up from 189 to 215, both after the PVC championships.
Hatch, who had been unable to make weight at 160, earned a fourth-place finish at 145 at the states, while Jipson rallied late in his 215-pound state-meet semifinal to edge Zachary Ragot of Washington Academy of East Machias 7-4 en route to a second-place finish in his weight class.
PVHS got one individual state championship from sophomore C.J. Stratton, who avenged three earlier losses this season to Dexter’s Zach Poirier with a 6-4 decision in their 285-pound final.
Zach Lafreniere placed second for the Howlers at 130 pounds, while Kalob Raymond (140) finished third and David Sirois (112), Greg Rowley (135), Nathan Philbrook (152) and Nelson Kyser (171) earned fourth-place finishes by advancing to the consolation finals.
“Everyone knew going in that it was a race for second place, because no one was going to beat Lisbon,” said Hutchinson. “But our saying all week was ‘nine for nine,’ and the kids came through.”
Richardson shines in home finale
Doug Richardson’s final home meet with the Dexter wrestling team proved memorable.
Not only did he capture his second straight individual state title at 189 pounds, he also was named most outstanding wrestler at last Saturday’s Class C state championship meet hosted by the Tigers.
The Dexter senior followed a similar path to the top of the awards as he did a year earlier, avenging a loss to a top rival the week before.
Last year, Richardson was decisioned by Bucksport’s Craig Woodard in the finals of the Eastern Maine Class C meet but pinned Woodard at 5:51 of their state championship final.
This year, Richardson avenged a 5-4 loss to Lisbon’s Art Stambach at the new Class C qualifying meet with a 9-4 decision over Stambach at the state finals.
That followed two earlier victories on the day, a pin of Traip Academy of Kittery’s John LaMarca in 50 seconds, and a pin of Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln’s Matt Johnson in 1:07 of their championship semifinal.
Richardson, who surpassed 100 victories for his career, finished his final season with coach Adam Gudroe’s club with a 28-1 record against in-state competition at 189 pounds.
Richardson’s career resume also includes three straight Penobscot Valley Conference titles and the 2008 Eastern Maine Class C championship.
All-class meet slated
The 2010 Maine Amateur Wrestling Alliance All-Star Invitational meet featuring standout wrestlers from all three classes, is scheduled for Saturday at the Bath Middle School, 6 Old Brunswick Road in Bath.
The top three finishers at each weight from Classes A, B and C are automatic qualifiers for the meet, while the fourth-place finishers in each weight class are alternates.
The event will feature eight-wrestler brackets with a pigtail round if necessary, and seeding will be done by an MAWA seeding committee.
Wrestling will begin at 9:30 a.m. on three mats, with the consolation finals and championship finals to be held concurrently on two mats.
The top four finishers in each weight classes will receive awards, as well as the top two seeds. Two outstanding wrestler awards — one for lighter weights between 103 and 140 pounds, the second for the heavier (140-285) classes — also will be presented.
Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students/children, with proceeds to benefit the MAWA scholarship fund.