WELLS — Coming into this season, Wells wrestling coach Scott Lewia had a good feeling about his team. And why not? He was returning performers in nearly every weight class, many with state tournament experience.
Saturday, as the host school of the Class B South regional, the Warriors set themselves up almost perfectly for next week’s state meet by qualifying wrestlers in 12 of the 14 weight classes.
Wells totaled 193½ points to win the regional title, well ahead of runner-up Mountain Valley (154½) and third-place Lisbon (128).
“Thinking about this meet (Friday) night, this is about what I had hoped,” said Lewia, in his 11th season as head coach. “I thought we might be able to (qualify) 12 (weight classes) like we did in the league meet last week. But we only won that by five points so I wasn’t sure about what might happen today.”
Lewia said the chances of a regional championship and a good shot at a state title started to improve midway through the season. His kids were performing as he expected and numerous weight classes saw Wells athletes in finals.
The Warriors got championships Saturday from Ryan Norton (113 pounds), Michael Wrigley (170) and Nolan Potter (195) – all juniors who repeated from last year. And Devin Bickford (120), Cullen Cummings (132), Caleb Chase (138) and Sean McCormack-Kuhman (220) finished second.
“We have three, four studs, but it’s the second-, third- and fourth-place finishers that wins tournaments. Like today,” added Lewia, who guided the Warriors to a fifth-place showing in last year’s Class B state meet.
Potter, who won by an injury default in the final, moved up a weight class this year from 182 to 195 only to see the same result.
“Winning (regionals) for the second time is really great,” Potter said. “I work so hard all year and this is one of the payoffs.”
Wrigley, who also moved up a weight class, recorded a pin with 5.3 seconds left in the first period against Jesse Pelletier of Mountain Valley. Wrigley surprised Pelletier with a quick, cat-like move.
“This year was definitely challenging because (my opponents) are bigger,” Wrigley said. “But I still wrestle like I’m in a lighter class. I feel I’m quicker and faster, and I use that to my advantage.”
The top four finishers in each division qualified for the state meet next Saturday at Bucksport.
Wells also will have Caden Gibson (third, 106 pounds), Josh Burgess (fourth, 126), Drew Peters (third, 152), Nathan Curtis (fourth, 160) and Brendan Dean (third, 285) competing next week.
One of the highlights for Mountain Valley was senior Ethan Boucher’s victory at 138 pounds. He made it 4 of 4 in the regionals despite missing part of the season with a shoulder injury and only returning a couple weeks ago.
He won at 120 pounds as a freshmen and sophomore, then at 132 as a junior.
“This win helps a lot for states, being seeded fourth,” Boucher said. “It’s also important because it’s the first step (for states and New Englands).”
Another highlight was Zoe Buteau of Oak Hill, the top female finisher. Buteau, a two-time All-American, pinned Burgess 18 seconds into the third period of the consolation final to place third, improving on last year’s fifth-place finish.
“I thought I could have done better in my second match, but I made states and that’s nice,” said Buteau, whose brother, Danny, was victorious at 132 pounds.
Other weight class winners were Jack Tibbetts, Lisbon, 106 pounds; Michael Sprague, Erskine Academy, 120; Caleb Austin, Mountain Valley, 126; Brock Glidden, Erskine Academy, 145; Hunter White, Dirigo, 152; Bryce Whittemore, Dirigo, 160; Nolan Degroot, Dirigo, 182; Seth Padelford, Madison, 220; and Jakob Peavey, Erskine Academy, 285.