Saturday, December 7, 2013
By Matt DiFilippo email@example.com
WESTBROOK -- Mt. Blue's one-point loss to Cony in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference wrestling championships was mentioned a few times at Mt. Blue's practices this week.
LOCKED UP: Cony’s Chris Paradis, left, and Mt. Blue’s Drew Blanchet wrestle in a 138-pound match Saturday afternoon in Westbrook. Skowhegan’s Kaleb Brown pinned Cony’s Chris Paradis in 59 seconds to win the 138 crown. Blanchet finished third.
Maine Sunday Telegram photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette
NO ESCAPE: Westbrook’s Cal Randall, bottom, struggles to get out of the grasp of Skowhegan’s Kaleb Brown in a 138-pound match on Saturday in Westbrook. Brown won the weight class and helped Skowhegan to a third-place finish in the Eastern A regional meet.
OK, maybe more than a few times. On Saturday at the Eastern A regionals, the Cougars wrestled like they had something to prove. Mt. Blue had four individual champions and four third-place finishers win the Eastern A title.
"Last week, we went to KVACs with high expectations, and the guys didn't wrestle well," said Mt. Blue coach Bob O'Connor, whose team has only three seniors. "We practiced real hard, and they all came to wrestle. We put eight in the medal rounds, and all eight won. It all comes from your mind first in this sport, and then you've just got to do what your mind says you can do."
Mt. Blue scored 168.5 points to earn a solid win over Cony (138.0) and Skowhegan (135.5). Westbrook (96.0) and Windham (92.0) rounded out the top five.
"I expected it to be a little bit closer between us, Mt. Blue and Skowhegan," Cony coach Shawn Totman said. "Mt. Blue wrestled fantastic today. I don't know that there's anybody that could have beaten them. I thought Skowhegan wrestled great, too. They gave us a heckuva run for second."
Mt. Blue's individual champions were Tyler Craig (106 pounds), Khalil Newbill (120), Kevin Moore (126), and Caleb Farrington (170). Finishing third for the Cougars were Drew Blanchet (138), Chris Ingram (152), Zach Faulkner (160) and Tyler Sennick (182). Sennick wrestled at the junior varsity level last season.
Craig is 43-0 this season and O'Connor said he would be the first freshman state champion in school history. He won his first two matches by pins in less than a minute apiece, then pinned Mt. Ararat's Jacob Kenney in 1 minute, 21 seconds to win the title.
In fact, Craig has had a tougher time making weight than winning his matches.
"It's been getting better, but I literally come in the week before 10 to 11 pounds over," Craig said. "So I do have to cut quite a bit of weight, but if you do it smart, it's easy to achieve."
Farrington beat Cony's Mikal Federici 12-7 in the 170-pound final. Farrington had dropped down to 160 for the KVACs and was pinned in the finals.
"I believe that just messed up my whole system," Farrington said. "It was a mistake. I should have never tried it. That's not a mistake I'm going to make twice. I guarantee that."
Skowhegan put four wrestlers in the finals. John Swett pinned Corey Allen of Mt. Ararat to win at 113, Kaleb Brown pinned Cony's Chris Paradis in 59 seconds to win the 138 crown, and Levi Hayden oulasted Zack McFarlin of Nokomis for a 12-3 major decision and the 182 title.
"Earlier in the day, I wasn't wrestling my best, so I knew I had to gout there and step it up a lot," Brown said. "(Later) I was being more aggressive. I was taking it to the kids, and sticking with one move and running it."
Skowhegan's Carter Stevens (145) and Andrew Pineo (195) earned third-place finishes by winning the consolation finals. Also placing third were Erskine's Joe York (126) and Nokomis' Jacob Nichols (285).
Cony had two regional champions: Connor Dufour (132) and Thon Itthipalakorn (145). Both are seniors, and Totman said they have been wrestling since middle school.
"They started wrestling together, and I think it meant a lot for them to win regional titles together," Totman said. "It was a really nice moment for those guys, and they've earned it. They wrestle in the summertime, and they're great kids."
Matt DiFilippo -- 861-9243