May 21, 2018
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Archer propels Mt. Blue in final meet at Nokomis tourney

By Ernie Clark, BDN Staff

NEWPORT — Matt Archer made the most of his final high school wrestling meet Saturday.

The Mt. Blue of Farmington senior won the 285-pound weight class to help the Cougars cap off a narrow win over Dirigo of Dixfield at the Nokomis Wrestling Tournament.

Class A Mt. Blue amassed 185 points to win the meet for the second straight year, while Class C Dirigo finished second among the 11 scoring schools with 177 points.

Another Class C program, Foxcroft Academy, was third with 127.5 points, with Wells (114) and Oak Hill of Sabattus (104) next and Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield and Monmouth Academy tying for sixth with 74 points.

Archer has been wrestling under some duress throughout the winter, the result of an injury suffered last fall when he was a standout lineman helping the Mt. Blue football team reach the Pine Tree Conference semifinals.

“I tore my labrum during football season, so my (left) shoulder basically dislocates every time I wrestle,” said Archer. “It’s not as bad as you think it would be.”

Archer, one of 11 finalists for the new Gaziano Award symbolic of the state’s top football lineman, hopes to continue with that sport next year, so at the expense of his wrestling career he’s set to undergo surgery Wednesday.

“We didn’t know what was wrong right after football, I was just sore,” said Archer, who is considering Division III Plymouth (N.H.) University, Husson and Maine Maritime Academy. “But we finally got it looked at, found out that it was torn, and I’ve got about a 90 percent chance to play college football so I need (the surgery).

“My coaches have all backed me up, I discussed my decision with all of them and my mom and dad have backed me either way. It’s just nice to have coaches who understand.”

Archer’s loss will be significant to the Mt. Blue wrestling team, but Cougars’ coach Bob O’Connor remains optimistic as postseason approaches.

“I’ve had him for three of four years — he had a shoulder injury as a sophomore and did not wrestle — and last year he had 32 pins,” O’Connor said. “He’s one of the better heavyweights in the state and we’re going to miss his points the rest of the year.

“I left the decision up to him because he has to live with it, but I have some solid wrestlers so we can score a lot of points with the 13 we have remaining. I think better things are to come.”

Mt. Blue also got individual titles at the Nokomis meet from Dustin Small at 103 pounds and Drew Blanchet at 135 among seven wrestlers it sent to the championship finals to go with five other performers who reached the consolation finals.

Dirigo also crowned three individual champions, sophomore Caleb Hall at 119 pounds, junior Adam Gill at 130 and sophomore D.J. Webber at 160. Like Mt. Blue, Dirigo also had 12 wrestlers earn top-four finishes during the meet.

“We started two freshmen and seven or eight sophomores, so I was real pleased with the outcome,” said Dirigo coach Doug Gilbert. “We’re a young team and we hadn’t performed well at the bigger tournaments like the Wells tournament and the McDonald’s tournament, but today we placed 12 out of 14 kids.

“We’re making progress, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”

Foxcroft was led by Trevor Weymouth, the 125-pound champion, and Wesley Stinson, who won at 145.

“Trevor’s our team captain, he leads by example and works hard,” said Foxcroft coach Luis Ayala. “He’s one of those kids you can depend on. He’s a solid wrestler who never makes mistakes, he wrestles a hard six minutes and his intensity is great.

“Wesley is one of those kids who just dominates when he steps on the mat. He overpowers people and is very intimidating when he wrestles people because he gives you everything.”

Alex Francis earned a berth in the championship finals of a major tournament for the first time and finished second at 130 pounds, while Mark Smith (112), Forrest Law (135) and Zack Smith (160) each placed third and Matt Smith (119) and Caleb Atkinson earned fourth-place finishes for the Ponies.

Colin Sevigny of Wells, the 112-pound champion, was named the meet’s outstanding wrestler, while other individual champions were Keith Madore (140), Mike Hamm (171) and Nick Wells (215) of Oak Hill, Garrett Perkins (152) of Wells and Kyle Foyt-Bridges (189) of Monmouth.

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