WALDOBORO — The Eastern Maine Class B wrestling championships took on the look of a “Camden Hills vs. the World” competition Saturday — and the world came up second best.
The Rockport-based Windjammers, hungry for a state championship after finishing second at that meet last winter, advanced 12 wrestlers to the championship finals and won seven individual crowns to roll to its third straight regional title at Medomak Valley High School.
Camden Hills won its 16th Eastern Maine championship overall since 1987, scoring 246.5 points to easily outdistance second-place Ellsworth (119). Belfast (89.5) was third, with Caribou (87), Mount Desert Island of Bar Harbor (82) and Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield the next teams among the 10-school field.
Coach Levi Rollins’ squad was so dominant that if this competition had been scored as a dual meet between the Windjammers and the rest of Eastern B, Camden Hills would have won that, too.
“I think we wrestled the same today that we usually have all season long,” said Rollins. “The kids moved on from the KVACs last weekend to the regionals today trying to set ourselves up the best we possibly can for a state title.”
Camden Hills, which was coming off a decisive victory at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships a week ago, was even deeper for the regionals with the return to the mat of senior Tom Cassidy.
Cassidy, the Class B 130-pound state champion last year, had been sidelined for five weeks with a dislocated shoulder but returned to practice Tuesday and wrestled effectively enough to win the 138-pound EM crown with two preliminary-round pins before outpointing Stefan Nicholls of Medomak Valley 3-1 in his championship match.
“I’d say I’m at seven (on a scale of one to 10) right now,” said Cassidy. “It was really important to get these matches in and get working again because I didn’t want to be going to the states without having wrestling.
“Conditioning has been really hard, because usually I’m tired when I’m practicing all the time, but I just started practicing again so it’s not quite there yet. But I wrestled better than I thought I would today.”
Also scoring individual championships for the Windjammers were James Archer at 106 pounds, Connor Winchenbach (120), Neal Harrison-Billiat (145), Jared Gilbert (152), Brandon Graffam (195) and Rhett Chase (220).
Earning second-place finishes for Camden Hills were Calan Bragg (126), Coleman Powers (132), Jack Hauprich (160), Ryan Graffam (170) and Anthony Batty (182).
John Underhill added a third-place finish at 113 pounds to give Camden Hills 13 qualifiers for next Saturday’s state meet at Fryeburg Academy.
“We had some kids really step up today,” said Rollins. “We’ve got some kids who are wrestling a lot better lately, they’ve been working really, really hard in the wrestling room and it’s paying off. Their conditioning is much better than pretty much everybody else at this point.”
Ellsworth, third at this meet a year ago, moved up a spot with performance led by Michael Phillippon, who won the 170-pound individual title by pinning Ryan Graffam with one second left in the second round.
“I just looked over in the corner at my coach and he told me to do a cradle and I did it,” said Phillippon. “It never went in all the way, and I thought to myself this is the last chance so I kind of hugged him and begged the refs ‘please, please.’”
The Eagles also got second-place efforts from Joe Wright (145) and Jared Bragg (285), thirds from Jack Weeks (132), Robert Banner (138), Josh Fowler (182) and Michael Garland (220) and a fourth from Jake Poors (195).
“I think our team wrestled really well,” said Ellsworth co-coach Dan Ormsby. “We’ve been wrestling as a team and we’ve been wrestling for each other, which is important. We have a lot of young kids, a lot of freshmen and sophomores and two seniors, and we won the matches we needed to and we did what we were supposed to do.”
Evan Drinkwater’s championship effort at 113 pounds and Brent Waterman’s victory in the 130-pound weight class sparked Belfast’s third-place finish, while Caribou also had two first-place finishers in Brendan Wood (126) and Deion Caudill (182).
Other individual champions were Tom Bully of MDI at 160 pounds and Jacob McGowan of MCI at 285.