Any time a wrestler claims his 100th career win, it’s a good day.
Saturday was a great day for Evan Fecko, a senior 170-pounder at Kennebunk High. His 1-0 win against Luke Howarth of Marshwood in the finals of the Western Class A regional was his 100th career victory and gave him his second straight regional title. It also was a reminder of just how far he’s come as a wrestler.
“I went 8-13 my freshman year,” Fecko said between congratulatory hugs and back-slaps. “That first year I had a lot of injuries and personal issues. I put those behind me and figured it out.
“It’s an honor (to win 100 matches). Absolutely.”
Fecko’s road to a state title will be difficult. Eastern Maine champ Jared Jensen of Brunswick has not lost this season.
Bonny Eagle’s Jon Gillar, wrestling at 120 pounds, also recorded his 100th win Saturday. Gillar finished third behind Tyler Davidson (Marshwood) and Lucas Dion (Massabesic).
JENSEN WASN’T the only local independent wrestler to claim a title at the Eastern Class A regional in Skowhegan. Greely’s Nick Vogel won the 160-pound crown with a 3-2 decision over Skowhegan’s Malik Geiger. A regional runner-up at 145 last year, Vogel trains with Windham. Jensen trains with Mt. Ararat, which had two state champs of its own: Damian Grubb at 106 and Felipe Gunter at 145. Eastern Class A champ Skowhegan had 10 finalist, five champs and qualified 11 wrestlers for Saturday’s state meet at the Augusta Civic Center.
SEVEN MEET RECORDS fell by the wayside at the South Southwestern swimming and diving championships, with five of them brought down during Friday’s boys’ meet.
Yarmouth senior Evan Coleman made his Southwesterns debut a memorable one, setting meet records in the 100-yard butterfly (53.79 seconds) and 100 back stroke (53.42 seconds) and anchoring Yarmouth’s 400 freestyle relay team to another record, 3:29.03.
The award for Outstanding Performer of the Meet, however, went to Windham senior Nick Sundquist, who also won two individual events (100 and 200 free, with a meet record 1:46.00 in the latter) and led off Windham’s winning 200 medley relay.
That performance not only helped Windham hold off Yarmouth by four points for the team title, it also capped a perfect Southwesterns career for Sundquist, who won every individual and relay race he entered during his four years of competing.
“Part of it may be that I’m known, that I have built up relationships with a lot of these coaches,” Sundquist said of being chosen as the top performer. “They know me.”
Still, even Sundquist admitted to being surprised when the announcement was made.
“I would have voted for him, to be honest,” he said of Coleman, against whom he has been competing on the club level since they were 10. “All I wanted was first place for our team.”
The other record set Friday night? Gorham senior Tim Smith won the 50 free in 22.25 seconds, eclipsing the mark set by Cully Wakelin of Biddeford in 2004.
The 100 butterfly mark had stood since 2000 (Matt Woodward of Massabesic), and Sundquist broke a 12-year-old record in the 200 free (Sean Flaherty of Scarborough). The other two broken records were only a year old (Tyler Wright of Massabesic in the 100 back and Windham in the 400 free relay).
FRIDAY’S MEET at Cape Elizabeth came down to the 400 free relay. Yarmouth needed to win to have a chance, and did. That forced Windham to place at least fifth to win.
The Eagles took fourth, thanks to a quartet that performed much better than Windham Coach Peter Small expected.
“All four of them went two-plus seconds faster than ever before,” Small said. “I did not think they would go as fast as they did, and we needed it.”
Senior Asa Reed, swimming the second leg, was three-and-a-half seconds faster this his previous best. He entered the meet without a state qualifying time, but got it in the 50 free.
Sophomore Sam Shoberg led off, followed by Reed, senior Joe Mycock and sophomore Lyle Webster.
“It was fun,” Small said. “The energy here was unbelievable.”
SATURDAY’S INDIVIDUAL records went to a pair of Waynflete juniors. Ellen Silk not only set a meet record of 58.10 in the 100 butterfly, she also took down the pool record held by Emily Caras of Cape Elizabeth.
Colby Harvey obliterated the 200 individual medley record set by Jenni Roberts of Sanford in 2009, lowering it by more than two seconds to 2:10.12 despite having nobody to push her. The rest of the field finished more than 10 seconds behind.
“The record itself was definitely motivation for me,” she said. “I know how much to push myself without looking around.”
That probably sounds like bragging, she said with a look of apology.
“I know how I’m supposed to feel during different parts of the race, how I’m supposed to feel by the third lap,” she explained. “If I’m not tired, I know I need to push harder. Because at the end of the race, you should have to struggle to get out of the pool. That’s how you know you’re pushing yourself enough.”
SOUTH PORTLAND (14-2) has climbed to first place in Western Class A boys basketball heading into a showdown at home Tuesday night against No. 2 Portland (14-2). The winner will likely secure the No. 1 seed for the regional tournament.
Eleven teams make the tournament, with the top five advancing directly to quarterfinals at the Portland Expo on Feb. 15-16. The other six play preliminary round games on Feb. 12.
Deering (13-3) is ranked third, followed by Westbrook (12-4) and Bonny Eagle (13-3). The next six teams are Thornton Academy (10-6), Scarborough (10-6), Sanford (8-8), Marshwood (7-9), Windham (6-10) and Gorham (6-10).
“I think any team could win it,” Bonny Eagle Coach Phil Bourassa said Friday night after the Scots beat Scarborough 59-58 in overtime.
“The seventh-, eighth- and ninth-seeded teams have a shot. It’s been an exciting regular season.”
In Western Class B, 12 teams make the tournament. Morse High (5-11) of Bath holds a slim lead over Oak Hill (6-10) of Sabattus for the final spot.
GREELY’S GIRLS’ basketball team lost to Lake Region Friday night, 44-31, a decision that dropped the Rangers to fifth place in the Western Class B Heal point standings.
The Rangers (13-3) opened an 8-0 lead, taking advantage of a mismatch down low against Lake Region’s smaller defenders, with Jordynne Copp scoring six quick points on entry passes from Ashley Storey.
But Lake Region (14-2) switched to a 1-3-1 zone to disrupt Greely’s attack, and eventually gained the offensive momentum as well.
Greely’s first-year coach, Joel Rogers, while disappointed with the loss, saw a lot of good things on the court.
He decided earlier in the week to change his bench rotation, relying heavily on his talented freshmen heading into the tournament.
“There was a lot that I liked,” he said. “We’re going to be able to press more, be more up-tempo. We’re going to be smaller. I just need a little more time with my freshmen.”
The first three off the bench were all freshmen: Margaret Hatch, Lexi Faietta and Sarah Felkel.
“I’m going to continue to go with my freshmen off the bench,” said Rogers. “And they’re only going to get smarter.”
LAKE REGION, meanwhile, jumped up to first place. The Lakers beat third-ranked York six days earlier.
Standout center Tiana-Jo Carter said the Lakers knew early on that they had to step things up against Greely, which beat Lake Region earlier in the season.
“We knew what we had to do to beat them,” she said. “We came out and I don’t think we were fully in it yet. We started slow. When we noticed that we weren’t doing well, I think it kicked in and told us if we didn’t pick it up, we weren’t going to win the game.”
Coach Paul True noted the significance of the victory.
“I think now that we’re getting everybody back (healthy) and playing together, it’s a confidence builder,” he said. “We know on any given night we can beat anybody in the West. And we also understand that on any given night anybody can beat us.”
– Staff Writers Tom Chard, Mike Lowe, Steve Craig and Glenn Jordan contributed to this report.