It’s the time of the year when wrestlers start to reach their championship-season weight classes and one person’s move to a new weight class can create a ripple effect.
It’s certain a few coaches and wrestlers started planning counter moves when they learned Marshwood junior Cody Hughes wrestled at 152 pounds for the first time last weekend at the Michael J. Baker Wrestling Classic in Essex Junction, Vt.
Hughes, who has wrestled mostly at 170 pounds, remained unbeaten this year. He finished things in Vermont with a 15-0 technical fall against Cameron Milliken, a well-respected wrestler from Albany, N.Y.
Hughes was the national sophomore champion at 152 last spring.
In other words, he is best avoided if possible.
Hughes wasn’t alone in moving down in weight and finishing first at the Essex tourney. His teammates Darren LaPointe (113 to 106) and freshman Brad Beaulieu (120 to 113) and Massabesic senior Tyler Everett also turned the trick.
Everett competed at 132 pounds while winning the Noble Invitational and placing second at the Spartan Annual in early January. In Vermont he returned to 126 pounds where he was the state runner-up as a junior and stormed through the field, pinning Marshwood’s Killian Murphy in the final with a second left in the match.
Then there’s Mustang teammate Trevor Burns, a senior who has wrestled at 170, 182 and 195 throughout the season in dual meets. At the Noble Invitational he was in the 170 class, the next week he went up to 182 at the Spartan (finishing third). In Vermont, Burns won the 170-pound title.
Especially in combination with Mike Risti (who could go either 182 or 195), Burns’ versatility gives Massabesic Coach Rick DeRosier options.
“It’s just something else we can work with,” DeRosier said.
Marshwood Coach Matt Rix said his decisions on where to place his wrestlers will be based mostly on maximizing the Hawks’ chances for a third straight title.
DeRosier’s priority is slightly different, he said.
“A state championship as the team would be nice but if it’s someone who’s a senior, especially, I’d like them to do the best they can at their weight class,” DeRosier said.
So where will Hughes finish up? Or Everett? Or Burns? Or, for that matter, Marshwood’s other returning state champions – Jackson Howarth and Brett Gerry?
Howarth (160) pounds and Gerry (182, four pins) won titles at Essex in their regular weight classes, but if Hughes does go to 152 it leaves a gap at 170. Might there be a domino effect?
Rix just laughed.
“It’s a chess match,” he said.
MARSHWOOD WON the Essex tournament, scoring 273 points with five champions and 13 of 14 wrestlers placing. Beekmantown, N.Y. (184 points) was second, followed closely by Massabesic (175). All eight Mustangs who made the trip placed, with four winning titles.
Rix said it has been a season-long intention to have LaPointe get down to 106, while Beaulieu moved down to 113 earlier this month. Beaulieu beat talented Mountain Valley freshman Caleb Austin in the final, avenging a loss to Austin the previous weekend at the Kennebunk Duals.
Rix said he was even more encouraged by Josh Marks (third, 120), Eric Glidden (fifth, 132), Sam Hebert (fourth, 138), Shamus McManus (fifth, 145) and Justin Stacy (sixth, 170).
“Those are the guys who are going to make the difference. Marks wrestled really well and the only kid he lost to was the champion and between them they won eight matches where they were trailing,” Rix said.
Also, Connor LaPointe was third in the 99-pound class, which Essex runs but is not competed in Maine.
Joining Everett and Burns as Massabesic champs were Risti (195) and Tanner Andrews (220).
“Trevor Burns had an awesome match,” DeRosier said. “The kid he beat in the final was undefeated, 35-0 or something like that. With (Trevor) it always seems like the tough opponent is who he ends up facing.”
Also placing for the Mustangs were Nick Staples (third, 132), Zac Richard (fourth, 145), Leo Amabile (fourth, 99-pound) and Logan Martin (sixth, 152).
NOBLE HIGH won the SMAA Classic, held at Westbrook, beating runner-up Sanford, 204 to 107. Westbrook was third with 91. Marshwood demonstrated its team depth by placing fourth with 83 points. Jed Scott of Sanford won the 285-pound division, one of the few weights without a clear favorite entering the Western A regional at Sanford on Feb. 8.
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: