ROCKPORT — Dual meets at the end of high school wrestling’s regular season lack the urgency of their counterparts in basketball and hockey.
There are no Heal points at stake, nor are teams competing for their postseason existence.
More often the late-season wrestling meets are about getting one final dose of quality competition before the conference, regional and state championship events to follow, but Mountain Valley of Rumford also picked up a healthy dose of confidence Saturday with three dual-meet victories during a four-team competition hosted by Camden Hills Regional High School.
“It was an uplifting day for us,” said Mountain Valley coach Gary Dolloff. “We always work to peak at the end of the season going into the tournament. These are our last dual meets, so hopefully we’re going into the tournaments on a high note.”
The highlight of the day for the Falcons came in the event’s feature match when they edged host Camden Hills 41-32 in a battle of teams that finished 1-2 at last year’s Class B state championships and are expected to battle Belfast and Fryeburg Academy for the title again this year.
Camden Hills jumped out to a 26-10 lead thanks to its strength in the middle-weight classes as Tom Cassidy (130 pounds), Max Bragg (135), Brandon Rich (140), Neal Harrison (152) and Jacob Powers (160) all scored victories. Powers won by a 15-0 technical fall over Zach Cross, while Harrison and Rich each won by pin, Bragg edged Joe Provencher 11-8 and Cassidy won by forfeit.
But Mountain Valley countered in the upper weight classes, winning all four matches between 171 and 285 pounds to take a 31-26 lead. That run was highlighted by Ryan Glover’s 5-3 overtime victory over Rhett Chase at 215 pounds, to go with pins by Taylor Carey (171), Josh Allen (189) and Christian Durland (285).
Freshman Connor Winchenbach gave Camden Hills a 32-31 lead by pinning Nicole Burgess with 9.7 seconds left in their 103-pound match, only to have Mountain Valley take the lead for good when Jake Thornton scored a 14-3 major decision over Brooks Bumbalo at 112.
That set up a potential final matchup at 119 pounds between two-time state champion Ryan Burgess of Mountain Valley and talented sophomore Coleman Powers of Camden Hills, but with conference championship meets slated for next Saturday and Powers still on the comeback trail from an early season collarbone injury, the Windjammers forfeited the bout and Burgess earned six insurance points for Mountain Valley.
“This is the first time all season that we’ve had our full lineup,” said Dolloff, who also got victories against Camden Hills from Cody Magoon at 125 pounds and Josh Thornton at 145. “We’ve been without two or three guys. But having having Cody here was a big help and Glover, who usually is our heavyweight, had a big match against Chase. Getting those two kids back really helped us.”
Both Mountain Valley and Camden Hills won their other two matches during the meet. Mountain Valley defeated Morse of Bath 52-15 and Medomak Valley of Waldoboro 75-6. Camden Hills defeated Morse 49-20 and Medomak Valley 76-3.
Eight Mountain Valley wrestlers — Ryan Burgess, Jake Thornton, Magoon, Josh Thornton, Carey, Allen, Durland and Glover — won all three of their individual matches, while six Camden Hills wrestlers — Winchenbach, Cassidy, Bragg, Rich, Harrison and Jacob Powers — also went 3-0 on the day.
“I think we wre a little down today,” said Camden Hills coach Levi Rollins. “All day long we didn’t quite have it, but I’d rather have it down right now than next weekend so we’re going to go back and work hard in practice and do it all over again next weekend. Hopefully the outcome will be a little different, which I believe it will be.”
Medomak Valley had just four wrestlers in the competition, but Stefan Nicholls went 2-1 at 130 pounds while Dylan Look won two of three matches while competing in both the 189- and 215-pound divisions.
Camden Hills, Medomak Valley and Morse move on to the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships next Saturday at Mount Ararat School in Topsham. Mountain Valley next competes at the Mid-State Championships next weekend at Fryeburg Academy.