Monday, March 10, 2014
By TERRY DEVEREAUX
Six Skowhegan wrestlers took home medals at the Class A state championships as the Indians finished third. Marshwood easily defended its state title, scoring 201 points, while Massabesic was second with 113. Skowhegan finished with 105 points.
Tyler Craig (113) and Andrew Pineo (195) won state titles for the Indians. Craig, a sophomore, won his second consecutive title, beating Noble’s Bill Gagner, 6-0. Pineo, a senior, won his first state crown in similar fashion, shutting out Windham’s Christian Coons 5-0.
Kaleb Brown (138) and Mikal Federici (170) placed second, Julian Sirois (120) third, and Levi Hayden (182) finished in fourth place.
“I feel the team performed very well at the state tourney,” Skowhegan coach Tenney Noyes said. “Every one of our wrestlers went out there and left it all on the mat. Not every match went our way, there were a handful of tough one point or two point losses that came right down to the (final) whistle, but that’s what happens at states.”
Federici (170) has quietly flown under the radar most of the season. The junior finished second to Brunswick’s Jared Jensen in both the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference and Eastern A regionals tournaments. He entered the state tournament on the same side of the bracket as Western regional champion Evan Fecko of Kennebunk. Fecko placed second at the state meet last season after beating Federici by an 18-8 major decision in the semifinals.
The two met again in the semifinals, but the outcome was dramatically different. Federici scored the first takedown with an ankle pick and rolled to an 8-3 win.
“The whole two weeks after regionals, that one match was the only thing I could think about,” Federici said. “I was very confident going into the match, mainly because of my work with Coach Noyes and teammate Andrew Pineo, who have very similar body types as Evan. I would work constantly on my setups and adapt to wrestling someone with a longer frame, which proved to be very helpful in the neutral game throughout the match.”
Federici spent a lot of time on the mat during the spring and summer months, competing in tournaments such as the USAW Northeast Regionals in Pennsylvania and also participating in the Maine-Nebraska Exchange. He says he wrestled in up to 12 tournaments over that time.
He said that experience is the reason for his improvement.
“I feel the offseason competition was the biggest help in my confidence,” he said. “I went into every match with the mindset that no one could beat me.”
Although Federici did lose some matches during the season, including the state championship to Jensen, now a three-time champion, he finished the year with 40 wins, two tournament championships and a state runner-up medal.
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A familiar foe stood between Aaron Lint and his second consecutive state title. The Winslow heavyweight faced Madison’s Ryan Malcolm in the 285-pound championship at the Class C meet. The two met four times during the season, with Malcolm winning each contest.
Lint scored an escape 30 seconds into the third period to take a 3-2 lead.
“I knew right then I only had a minute and a half to keep wrestling,” Lint said. “I pushed into him and kept being aggressive. He got (called again) for stalling which gave me another two points.”
The additional points gave Lint a 5-2 lead and cemented the win.
A difference in strategy was a major part of the win according to Winslow coach Kevin Fredette.
“Aaron was much more aggressive (in this match) and kept him backing up and on the defensive,” Fredette said.
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