Massabesic closing the gap slowly
It may be too great a distance to overcome, but Massabesic High´s wrestlers showed Friday and Saturday in Vermont that they have moved closer to defending Class A champion Marshwood.
"With the kids we´ve got, we can hold our own," Massabesic Coach Rick DeRosier said. "Each tournament we´ve gone to, it seems like we´ve been getting a little bit closer. But enough to catch them? I´m not sure."
Marshwood won the Michael J. Baker Wrestling Classic with 255.5 points. Massabesic was next with 209. Five of the top seven teams were from Maine (Noble was fourth, Mt. Ararat sixth and Fryeburg Academy seventh).
The Mustangs actually had an edge over Marshwood in one category with six finalists to four for the Hawks.
Both had two individual champions.
For Massabesic, the big surprise came at 132 pounds. Zac Richard came in with a 14-5 record and won four straight matches for the title. Along the way he topped the No. 3, No. 2 and No. 4 wrestlers.
His key match came in the semifinals when he took second-seeded Trevor Smith of Marshwood, the 2012 state runner-up at 126 pounds, into overtime and then pinned him 18 seconds later.
Richard finished off the run with a 4-1 decision over 2012 Class C 120-pound champ Zach Stevens of Lisbon.
DeRosier said Richard´s result was an example of a young wrestler realizing it was time to be more assertive.
"All it was was being aggressive and going after the first point, the first takedown, instead of working from behind," DeRosier said. "By no means was this a lucky thing. He should be up there (when) he wrestles to his potential."
Massabesic and Marshwood had two head-to-head bouts in the final. Lucas Dion beat Marshwood´s Tyler Davidson 4-3 at 120 pounds, and Marshwood´s Matt Gerry pinned Mike Risti in the 182-pound class.
Marshwood sophomore Cody Hughes dominated the 152-pound division for the Hawks´ other title.
Both teams were good across the 15 weight classes (there was a 99-pound division). Massabesic had 10 top-six finishes. Marshwood had 12 wrestlers place.
"It´s just that going against (Marshwood), we´re probably short two, three weight classes," DeRosier said. "That´s points we´re missing out of so it´s kind of hard."
HOST TIGERS SHINE: While several SMAA teams traveled to Vermont (Deering and Sanford joined the big three), the rest of the league -- along with several ´B´ and even some ´C´ teams -- convened in Biddeford for the Southern Maine Classic.
Bonny Eagle won the meet with 141 points behind individual champs Robbie Martin (152) and John Gillar (120), but Biddeford had the most champions and tied for second with Marshwood´s junior varsity entries with 119 points.
Four Tigers won titles, including senior Derek Vermette at 182 pounds, the Class A champ at the same weight in 2012.
"It was his last time wrestling at home, it was pretty important getting the win and he enjoyed it, I´m sure," said his father, Steve Vermette, the Biddeford coach.
Despite battling health issues throughout the season, Vermette´s only losses were to Marshwood´s Gerry at the Sanford invitational and in Monday´s dual meet. The latter was a 6-4 decision.
Also winning championships for Biddeford were sophomore Dominick Day at 132, junior Jake Gagne at 113 and sophomore Sasha Kurlychek-Godard at 220.
IN A MATCHUP between two big boys, each with an impressive invitational win to their credit, Windham sophomore 285-pounder Jake Hodgkins pinned Bonny Eagle´s Isaiah Reynolds in the Southern Maine Classic final.
Windham Coach Kurt Pelletier had said the previous week that Hodgkins, though inconsistent at times, was very capable as his win at the Noble Invitational showed.
Reynolds had won the competitive Sanford invitational. A potential rematch would have to be at the state championship meet because Windham competes in Eastern Class A.
Staff Writer Steve Craig can be reached at 749-6413 or at:
WRESTLER OF THE WEEK
Zac Richard, Massabesic sophomore: Richard won the 132-pound division at the Essex, Vt., tournament from the sixth seed. In the semifinal bout he pinned second-seeded Trevor Smith of Marshwood in overtime, then won the title with a 4-1 decision against Zach Stevens of Lisbon.
Brett Gerry, Marshwood sophomore: Gerry won all five of his 182-pound matches by pin at the Essex tournament to raise his season record to 38-2. Gerry defeated Mike Risti of Massabesic in the final.
Jacob Guimond, Noble senior: Guimond dominated his competition in Vermont, winning all four of his bouts by pin, the first three in the first period. He improved to 40-5 this season when he stopped John Sirois of Mount Mansfield (Vt.) Union in the second period in the final.
Dominick Day, Biddeford sophomore: Competing in his home gym Saturday in the Southern Maine Classic, Day won the 132-pound title, winning each of his three matches by fall.