March 2, 2012

Maine wrestlers ready for New Englands

Forty-one of the state's top wrestlers will compete this weekend in Providence, R.I.

By Paul Betit pbetit@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Forty-one Maine wrestlers will compete during the next two days at the 48th annual New England high school championships at Providence, R.I.

Class A champion Marshwood, Class B champion Camden Hills and Class C champion Foxcroft Academy are sending relatively large groups to the six-state competition, but it's doubtful any of them have the depth to challenge powerhouse teams from New Hampshire, Vermont and Connecticut.

Timberlane of Plaistow, N.H., which captured its 13th consecutive Granite State Division championship two weeks ago, qualified 10 wrestlers for the regional event, which will be held at the Providence Career and Technical Center. The Owls are seeking their sixth consecutive New England title.

Two weeks ago, Mount Anthony Union of Bennington, Vt., claimed its 24th consecutive team title. The Patriots, runner-ups to Timberlane a year ago, will send 10 wrestlers.

Last weekend, Xavier of Middletown, Conn., won its first state open tournament championship.

The Falcons, the two-time Class LL state champions, will send seven wrestlers to the New Englands, including three open champions.

No Maine team has won a New England championship since Sanford in 1967.

Since 1999, when Maine returned to the regional competition after a 20-year hiatus, only two teams from the state have finished in the top five.

In 2008, Belfast finished third, and Foxcroft Academy was fifth in 2006.

The winners in each of the 14 weight classes in the Class A, B and C state championship meets, which were held Feb. 18, qualified for the New England event.

According to Gerry Durgin, an assistant executive director of the Maine Principals' Association, James Blanchette, the Class C state champion in the 106-pound division from Mt. View, will be the only Maine wrestler unable to make the trip.

Durgin said the MPA received word about Blanchette's absence too late to enter an alternate.

Marshwood, which captured its first Class A state title since moving into the classification from Class B in 2002, will send five wrestlers.

The contingent from the South Berwick school includes Tyler Davidson at 113, Trevor Smith at 126, Jackson Howarth at 132, Cody Hughes at 138 and Nicholas Janes at 145.

Davidson, a junior, will wrestle in the New Englands for the third consecutive season.

Camden Hills, which is located in Rockport, will be represented by four wrestlers, including James Archer at 106, Anthony Batty at 182, Brandon Graffam at 195 and the unbeaten Rhett Chase at 220.

Because of the seeding, Archer, Batty and Chase received first-round byes.

Four wrestlers from Foxcroft Academy qualified for the New Englands, including Brooks Law at 113, Forrest Law at 138, Wesley Stinson at 145 and Corey Bjornson at 182.

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

pbetit@pressherald.com

Twitter: PaulBetitPPH

 

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