BAR HARBOR — Belfast had the best of the championship finals at Saturday’s Eastern Maine Class B wrestling meet, winning six of its seven matches.
But rival Camden Hills of Rockport had too much depth for the Lions and the rest of the 12-school field, earning five individual titles and 13 top-three finishes to earn the regional crown for the second straight year.
The Windjammers, who similarly defeated Belfast to win the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference crown a week ago, totaled 239 points to best the second-place Lions (209). Newly crowned Penobscot Valley Conference champion Ellsworth was third with 113 points, with Hermon (95.5) and Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield (82) rounding out the top five squads.
“We wrestled great, we wrestled awesome,” said Camden Hills senior Jacob Powers, who remained undefeated this winter by pinning all three of his opponents to win the 160-pound weight class. “We came together as a team, we got the pins when we needed them and we got the wins when we needed them. We knew after KVACs that it wasn’t going to be an easy walk-through after we beat Belfast, we knew they’d be right there again today but everyone stepped up for us.”
Camden Hills advanced nine wrestlers to the championship round, with Tom Cassidy (130 pounds), Max Bragg (135), Powers, Rhett Chase (215) and Jacob Halberg (285) each winning an individual title.
Bragg’s championship-round victory was the most dramatic, as the senior scored a three-point near-fall with 10 seconds left in the third period to force overtime, then used a takedown of MCI’s Ryan Gamblin 17 seconds into the first extra period to earn a 9-7 decision.
“I pulled it out of nowhere, I guess,” said Bragg. “I think I needed three points and ended up taking a double-leg and putting him right to his back. Those three back points right there at the end got it to overtime. I need the three back points, and the double-leg was the first thing that came to mind.”
Connor Winchenbach (103), Calan Bragg (125), Brandon Rich (140) and Isaac Young (145) each placed second for Camden Hills, and coach Levi Rollins’ club also won all four of its consolation finals, with Coleman Powers (119), Neal Harrison (152), Anthony Batty (171) and Brandon Graffam (189) all finishing third.
“We wrestled pretty good, we did what we needed to do,” said Bragg. “We’ve been working real hard.”
Belfast’s Evan Drinkwater (103), Jordan Young (119), Brent Waterman (125), Justin Philbrook (145), Kornealius Wood (171) and Peter Kelley (189) all won their weight classes, with Ethan Fitzjurls (152) finishing second. The Lions also got third-place efforts from Walker Roberts (112) and Anthony Salisbury (135), while Derek Philbrook (130) and Daniel Weiss (140) finished fourth as Belfast advanced 11 wrestlers to next Saturday’s state meet at the Augusta Civic Center.
“The guys wrestled great today. We ended up with six champions, a second and four guys in the consolation finals. It was just about what we expected,” said interim Belfast coach Neal Wood. Wood’s father-in-law, legendary Belfast head coach Ted Heroux, was sitting in the front row of the bleachers watching the meet Saturday, marking the first time he’s been back at a wrestling venue since collapsing at a meet on Jan. 17 and subsequently being hospitalized with heart-related issues.
Ellsworth was sparked by second-place finishes from Brandon Goncalves (119), Daniel Phillippon (171) and Michael Garland (285), while Hermon got individual titles from Alex Peterson at 112 pounds and Ryan Botting at 140.
Botting, who has battled illness throughout his senior season with the Hawks, used his quickness to claim a second straight Eastern B title with a 6-4 victory over Camden Hills’ Rich, the defending regional champion at 140 pounds.
“I’d never wrestled him,” said Botting, who won the 135-pound Eastern B title last winter before placing second at the state meet. “He’s beaten people that’s beaten me, that’s all I can say. I just had to stay strong and wrestle my match, leg-riding, shooting and keeping it at a fast pace.”
MCI’s effort featured second-place finishes from Gamblin and Britton Moholland at 160.
The other individual champion was Sumner of East Sullivan senior Ryan Grover, who used four consecutive pins to win the 152-pound division.