AUGUSTA, Maine — A changing of the guard may be in the offing when the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference wrestling championships are held Saturday at Cony High School.
Class B powers Camden Hills of Rockport and Belfast have dominated the conference meet in recent years, but Class A Skowhegan may be poised to wrestle the overall team title away.
The Indians feature one returning state champion and four other state runners-up among a lineup that includes four No. 1 seeds and five No. 2 seeds for the 21-school KVAC meet.
“Hopefully we can do well if we can continue to wrestle like we have all season,” said Skowhegan coach Tenney Noyes, whose team is 21-1 in dual meets this winter.
Skowhegan is led by sophomore Ty Craig, the reigning Class A state champion at 106 pounds while at Mt. Blue of Farmington last year, who is top seeded at 113 pounds for the KVACs. Other top seeds for the Indians are freshman Kam Doucette (132 pounds), senior Carter Stevens (152) and senior Levi Hayden (182).
Skowhegan’s No. 2 seeds are sophomore Kaleb Brown (138), freshman Logan Stevens (145), senior Christian Jackson (160), junior Mikal Federici (170) and senior Andrew Pineo at 195.
“The freshmen and sophomores we have aren’t green wrestlers,” said Noyes. “They’ve stepped right in and you wouldn’t know they’re freshmen and sophomores by the way they wrestle.”
Brown, Carter Stevens, Christian Jackson and junior John Swett, seeded third at 126 pounds, all were state runners-up a year ago.
The team’s four seniors, Carter Stevens, Jackson, Hayden and Pineo — a state runner-up two years ago who was injured at last year’s state meet — all have achieved 100 career victories.
Defending KVAC champion Camden Hills — the only team to defeat Skowhegan in a dual meet this season — also is expected to contend for a top overall finish as well as the conference’s Class B crown.
Class B Belfast, led by reigning New England champion Brent Waterman at 132 pounds, also should be a factor, as will Class A Mt. Blue and Nokomis of Newport.
Foxcroft, Dexter to renew rivalry at PVCs
Last year’s Penobscot Valley Conference wrestling championship meet was decided by one point, with Foxcroft Academy edging Dexter en route to its second straight Class C state title.
That postseason road begins anew Saturday with the PVCs at Bucksport High School, with Foxcroft and Dexter again among the favorites.
One factor that has affected all the teams in recent weeks has been injuries and illness — particularly the flu.
“We’ve been fighting it like every other team,” said Foxcroft coach Luis Ayala, whose team is seeking its seventh PVC title during his 11-year tenure.
The Ponies, 25-1 during the dual-meet season, have eight wrestlers ranked either first or second in their weight classes, according to the PVC’s preliminary seedings.
That group features five No. 1 seeds, led by three defending Class C state champions in Forrest Law (138 pounds this year), Brooks Law (126) and Corey Bjornson (195), who is coming off recent battles with flu and pneumonia.
Other top seeds for the Ponies are freshman Antonio Ayala, the coach’s son, at 113 pounds and Todd Francis at 160.
Seeded second for Foxcroft are Eli Olson (106), Corbyn Bruce (182) and Caleb Atkinson (285).
Dexter boasts three No. 1 seeds in Dylan Hanscom (106), Tyler Salsbury (120) and Andrew Levensalor (145), while another contender is Ellsworth with top-seeded Jared Bragg at 205 and five No. 2 seeds in Zack Harris (126), Jack Weeks (132), Joe Wright (152), Jake Poors (170) and Michael Garland (220).
Other No. 1 seeds for the PVC meet are Brendan Wood of Caribou at 132, Jeremy Voisine (152) and Josh Pelletier (170) of Fort Kent, Thomas Bully of Mount Desert Island at 182 and Alex Urquhart of Hermon at 220.