HOWLAND, Maine — Foxcroft Academy crowned eight individual champions to pull away to victory Saturday at the Eastern Maine Class C wrestling championships held at Penobscot Valley High School.
The defending state champion Ponies totaled 249.5 points to best runner-up Dexter (195). Fort Kent was third with 85.5 points, with Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln (69) and Piscataquis of Guilford (60) rounding out the top five.
Foxcroft qualified wrestlers in all 14 weight classes for next Saturday’s state championship meet to be held at Fryeburg Academy, while Dexter advanced 13 qualifiers.
Foxcroft — which edged Dexter by a single point to win last week’s Penobscot Valley Conference meet — led Dexter by 23 points entering the championship finals, with the Ponies still having 11 wrestlers alive while the Tigers had 10.
“It felt like a dual meet out there with all the Foxcroft wrestlers on one side and all the Dexter wrestlers on the other side,” said Foxcroft coach Luis Ayala, who teaches at Dexter. “Dexter and Foxcroft have always had a great rivalry, and you could really feel it out there. Every match was hard fought, and the crowd was going wild.”
Dexter immediately narrowed the gap with championship-match victories by Dylan Hanscom at 106 pounds, Tyler Salsbury at 113 and Aaron Webber at 126 — with two of those victories coming against opponents from Foxcroft.
Six other head-to-head matchups remained, and Foxcroft won all of them.
Trevor Weymouth (132), Forrest Law (138), Wesley Stinson (145), Corey Bjornson (182), Corbyn Bruce (195) and Alex Sedore (285) all won their individual regional titles by defeating Dexter rivals in the finals.
Todd Francis (152) and Zac Smith (170) also won championships for the Ponies.
Foxcroft got second-place efforts from Brooks Law (113), Isaac Whittemore (126) and Damien Small (220), thirds from Eli Olson (106) and Mark Smith (120) and a fourth from Dylan Bruce at 160.
Dexter crowned four champions in Hanscom, Salsbury, Webber and Jon Gudroe (160).
Runners-up for the Tigers were Seth Blais (132), Andrew Adams (138), Andrew Levensalor (145), Anthony McLaughlin (182), Josh Haskell (195) and Kyle Lockhart (285), while Vincent Malinauskas (152) and Carl Snow (170) each placed third and Devan Gudroe (120) finished fourth.
Other Eastern Maine champions were Sam Thomas of Piscataquis of Guilford and Zac Ragot of Washington Academy of East Machias. Thomas avenged a loss to WA’s Chris Weiss in their PVC final with a 6-5 victory in the 120-pound final, while Ragot won the 220-pound crown.
Fort Kent was led by second-place finishes from Joshua Pelletier (152) and Brandon Hartt (170).
Dirigo captures ‘C’ West
At Bucksport, Dirigo of Dixfield qualified 13 of its 14 wrestlers for the state meet, including four first-place finishers, to win the Western C regional for the first time in four years.
Dirigo scored 194.5 points to best host Bucksport, which amassed 157.5 points in its debut season as a Western Maine program. Another new Western C team, Winslow, finished third with 122 points, while Madison (100) and Mount View of Thorndike (82) rounded out the top five.
Caleb Hall (132), Brett Whittemore (138), Jesse Hutchinson (145) and Gavin Sanders (182) all won individual titles for Dirigo, which also had four second-place finishers, two thirds and three fourths on the day.
Bucksport, coming off a third-place finish at last weekend’s PVC championships, had the most individual champions with six.
Freshman Matthew Stewart was the 106-pound champion, while Jacob Stewart (152), Jordan Fogg (160), Nic Bishop (170), Chris Powell (195) and Damon Klinedinst (285) also won their weight classes for coach Larry Clement’s Golden Bucks.
Five of the six Bucksport champions were top-seeded in their weight classes, while Bishop was a third seed in his return from a recent knee injury that had sidelined him for last week’s PVC meet.
Senior Alex Brown, seeded second at 120 pounds, finished second in that weight class to give Bucksport a seventh qualifier for the state meet.
Mt. Blue prevails in EM ‘A’
At Westbrook, Mt. Blue won its second straight Eastern A championship, avenging a loss to Cony of Augusta in last week’s KVAC Class A meet to defeat the second-place Rams 168.5 to 138.
Skowhegan was third with 135.5 points, with Westbrook (96), Windham (92) and Brewer (87) rounding out the top six teams.
Brewer’s effort featured a victory in the 285-pound class by Marcus Eaton. Eaton, second in his weight class at last year’s state championship meet, won his second straight Eastern A title by pinning Cony’s Steven Morse at 1:39 of the final.
The Witches also got second-place finishes from Mark Smith (120 pounds), Anthony Sprigg (132) and Victor Irwin (195) and a fourth from Robbie Kiah at 145.