Regional titles and berths in next weekend’s state wrestling championships will be at stake Saturday during qualifying meets around the state.
The Eastern Maine Class A meet will be held at Cony High School in Augusta, with the Eastern B championships to be held at Mount Desert Island High School in Bar Harbor.
Class C wrestlers from Eastern and Western Maine will gather in Jay for a single meet that will qualify top finishers in each weight class for the state meet, a format that has resulted from a paucity of Western C schools that field wrestling teams.
The Western A championships are set for Noble High School in North Berwick, with Mountain Valley High School of Rumford hosting the Western B meet.
Wrestling in all classes is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m., with top qualifiers advancing to the state meet at the Augusta Civic Center on Feb. 12.
The Eastern B regional resumes the rivalry between Midcoast powers Camden Hills of Rockport and Belfast. Camden Hills is the defending state and regional champion, as well as the overall champion in last weekend’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference meet after placing 10 of its wrestlers among the top three finishers in their weight classes.
The Windjammers are led by undefeated Jacob Powers, the reigning KVAC, regional and state champion at 160 pounds, as well as two other 2010 regional weight-class winners in Brandon Rich at 140 pounds and Coleman Powers, who won at 103 last year but is competing at 119 pounds this winter.
Other top performers for Camden Hills include Connor Winchenbach at 103 pounds, Calen Bragg (125), Tom Cassidy (130), Max Bragg (135), Isaac Young (145), Anthony Batty (171) and Rhett Chase (215).
Belfast crowned five individual champions at the KVAC meet, led by two-time state runner-up Jordan Young at 119 pounds, 2010 119-pound state champion Brent Waterman at 125 and 2009 state champion Kornealius Wood at 171. Evan Drinkwater (103) and Justin Philbrook (145) also won their weight classes at the KVACs, while other top point gatherers for the Lions are Walker Roberts (112), Peter Kelley (189), Daniel Weiss (140) and Ethan Fitzjurls (152).
Among teams joining the KVAC powers in the Eastern B field are Caribou and newly crowned Penobscot Valley Conference champion Ellsworth, which finished third and fourth behind Camden Hills and Belfast at last year’s regional.
Ellsworth is led by individual conference champions Brandon Gonclaves at 119 pounds and Michael Phillippon at 171, while Caribou’s roster includes two PVC runners-up in Jason Case at 112 pounds and Deion Caudill at 189.
Other PVC winners in the Eastern B field are Ryan Grover of Sumner of East Sullivan at 152 pounds and Justin Libby of Old Town at 160.
There are no regional banners up for grabs in Class C, only berths in the state meet. Three-time defending state champion Lisbon returns four individual state-title winners in Forrest Cornell (119), Josh Pomerleau (125), Mike McNamara (135) and Matt Nicholson (140) to the field and is coming off a third-place finish at last weekend’s Mid-State Conference championships. Dirigo of Dixfield, which had one individual champion at the Mid-States in D.J. Webber at 160 pounds, hopes to use its depth to overcome the Greyhounds after placing just behind Lisbon at the conference meet.
Top Eastern Maine contenders include Foxcroft Academy, Dexter and Fort Kent, which finished 2-4-5 at the PVC championships. Foxcroft is led by 145-pound conference champion Wesley Stinson. Dexter boasts two PVC champions in Aaron Webber (125) and Andrew Levensalor (140), as does Fort Kent with Cody Lozier (130) and Spencer Levesque (135).
Other PVC champions at the Class C qualifier are Alex Turanski (103) of George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill, David Sirois (112) of Penobscot Valley of Howland, Chris Powell (189) of Bucksport, Zac Ragot (215) of Washington Academy of East Machias and C.J. Stratton (285) of Penobscot Valley.
Westbrook is the defending Eastern A champion, and last weekend placed second at the SMAA Wrestling Classic in Eliot behind first-place finishes from Manny Vincent (145), Graham Strondak (152) and Steve Sawyer (189). Top challengers from the KVAC ranks include conference Class A champion Mt. Blue of Farmington and Skowhegan. Mt. Blue is led by 112-pound conference champion Khalil Newbill, while Skowhegan features Kaleb Austin, undefeated at 140 pounds, and Brandon Corson, who has just one loss this winter at 160 pounds.
Brewer will be led into the Eastern A regional by Marcus Eaton, who finished second in the 285-pound division at the KVAC championships.