The Mt. Ararat/Brunswick High School wrestling team poses with the first-place team plaque after capturing the 38th Annual Steven J Westlake Memorial Wrestling Tournament. The defending State Class A champion Eagles have high hopes for another successful season. (Eric Maxim / The Times Record)

TOPSHAM — Despite losing a pair of State Champions, Mt. Ararat/Brunswick returns two as well as a couple of third and fourth place finishers to compete once again for the Class A title come February.

While in class B, Morse has a young team that will make some noise in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference and in Lisbon/Oak Hill, longtime coach Ted Albasi leads a “smaller” squad with hopes of improvement and individual achievements. The Richmond team will wrestle in its second year of a varsity program under Mark Taylor.

Mt. Ararat/Brunswick

After finishing second the the Class A KVAC’s and North regional meets, the Eagles soared to the top at the State A Finals, capturing the school’s first wrestling team championship.

State champions Brady Mitchell and Mason Hultman have graduated, but 2019 champs sophomores Brycen Kowalsky (113) and Spencer LeClair (132/38) return to defend their titles. Senior co-captain Ben Laurence (152-170), who placed third last year in the states, Kyle Graffam (Soph., 152/190), Brett Raio (Sr., 152/160) and co-captain Caden Kowalsky (Sr.,145) all come back with regional and state championship meet experience. Alex Beal (Soph., 195/220) and Andy Murray (Jr. 285) will also compete for the squad.

“We look to compete for a conference, regional and state championship for 2019/2020,” Mt. Ararat coach Erick Jensen said. “We have a strong group of freshman coming in that will compete right away and fill some needed holes.”

Mt. Ararat/Brunswick’s Cody Holman wrestles with a Medomak Valley wrestler during a match last season. Holman and the Eagles are set to defend their State Class A title. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

The Eagles competed last weekend at the 38th Annual Steven J Westlake Memorial Wrestling Tournament at Bath Middle School. The team came away with a victory, sporting many individual success.

They return to the mat on Saturday when the travel to Westbrook for the Westbrook Invitational to compete with 12 other schools.

On Wednesday, Mt. Ararat heads to Morse to face the Shipbuilders and Cony Rams in the pit, before hosting its first meet on Dec. 14.

Other key road meets are — Cony Duals (Jan. 21), Spartan Wrestling Tournament in Sanford (Jan. 3), Skowhegan Invitational (Jan. 11) and the Essex Tournament (Vermont) on Jan. 17.

The Eagles will host meets on Jan. 15 and Jan. 24 before traveling to Augusta for the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Championships at Cony High School on Feb. 1.

The class A regional tournament will be held at Oxford Hills on Feb. 8, with the State  A Championships on Feb. 15 at Sanford High School.

Morse

A young Morse team has the future looking bright in Bath. Coach Mike Bennett and his staff have been pleased with the early progressions of the team, especially the underclassmen thus far.

“We have some green wrestlers,” Bennett said. “We’ll rely on our upperclassmen to lead the way for our younger kids.”

Slowed by injuries and the flu in the early going, Bennett expects his team to get healthy and progress throughout the year.

“Come regionals, we’ll be ready. I think we’ll be right there by the end of the year,” added Bennett.

The ’Builders will be led by junior Mason Savary (152), junior Connor McNish (138) and junior Ben Brewer, who captured the 160 class this past weekend at the Westlake Tournament. Sophomores Cole Avery (120) and Chase Nicolino (106) figure to have strong seasons for Bennett.

Senior Gaige Kindlimann, who wrestled his freshman and sophomore year, returns after a year away and has given Bennett strong senior leadership on the team so far in the preseason and could provide a boost for the Shipbuilders.

After this weekend’s tournament in Westbrook, Morse hosts Cony and Mt. Ararat in The Pit on Wednesday. After the Tiger Tourney in Gardiner on Dec. 14 and a home meet against Oxford Hills on Dec. 18, the ’Builders will compete in the Cony Duals on Dec. 21. The Husky Winter Classic at Maine Central Institute will close out 2019 on Dec. 27.

Key road dates in 2020 are — at Camden Hills (Jan. 8), Medomak Valley (Jan. 11), Nokomis (Jan. 15) and Mt. View (Jan. 20). Home dates include Jan 4 against Erskine Academy, Lincoln Academy, Oceanside and Windham/Gray-New Gloucester and Jan. 18 with Belfast, Bucksport, Lincoln and Oxford Hills.

Lisbon/Oak Hill

Lisbon/Oak Hill has graduated Zoe Buteau, last year’s Mid State Outstanding Wrestler and female state champion, but the Greyhounds return state finalists ready to take that next step.
Will full practices starting a bit late due to five wrestlers competing on the state champion football team, Albasi is ready to move forward.
“We had our first full team practice Monday (Nov. 25) due to five of our kids competing with our State Champion football team. We will once again have a small team with nine or 10 kids, however most have experience and should be very competitive. This year we look to improve from last season where we had three state runner ups and finished fifth overall as a team.”
Returning are senior captains, Cameron Bourget, Jack Tibbetts and Daniel Bolton, all whom were all state finalists a year ago.
“They are all working hard to take that final step and become state champions. Bolton and Bourget avenged their state loses at the New England qualifier to place third and earn a berth to New England’s,” Albasi added.
From Oak Hill, the team has juniors Christian St.Hilaire and Kylie Burns as well as Kadence Reynolds, all solid experienced wrestlers per Albasi.
Rounding out the team are Issac Potvin, who placed at regionals, and freshmen Peyden Ventry and Trevor McDaniels.
“With a small team any team title will be difficult, we will focus on individual improvement and finishing better then we were last year,” Albasi said.
After hosting Richmond and Monmouth on Saturday, the Greyhounds will travel for the rest of 2019 heading to Medomak Valley on Wednesday, Mountain Valley (Dec. 14), Dirigo (Dec. 18), Wells (Dec. 21) and Noble (Dec. 27).
Richmond and Monmouth come to Lisbon on Jan. 8 before the team hits the road again to Skowhegan (Jan. 11), Madison (Jan. 15) and the Essex Tournament in Vermont on Jan. 17.
Following a home meet against Lincoln Academy, Monmouth and Mountain Valley and a meet at Winnacunnet High School in New Hampshire on Jan. 25, the ’Hounds will compete in the Mid-States Championships on Feb. 1.
Richmond
The Bobcats enter the season with depth and will continue to build their program. Tri-captain senior Spencer Soule will lead the squad as one of the team’s top wrestlers.
“(He) had a great season last year,” Richmond coach Mark Taylor said about Soule’s 10-4 season. “He is the heart and soul of our team,and clearly our best wrestler.”
Other grapplers for the Richmond team this season are — junior Tyler Glidden (106), senior Reynante Gajilan (126) wrestling in his second season, junior Zach York (138), junior Parker Gagnon (152), junior Makayla Bergeron (170), first-year wrestler, senior Mohamad Assat (182), tri-captain seniors Brenden Roberge (195) and Jacob Macmaster (220), and senior Hunter Harris (285) round out the Bobcat lineup.
Also competing for the Bobcats this year are – junior Lillianna Riddle, sophomore Bobby Green and senior Sana Balghonaim.
Richmond opens the season on Saturday with a meet at Lisbon/Oak Hill against the Greyhounds and Monmouth. They travel to Mountain Valley on Dec. 11 against the Falcons and Dirigo. Other dates on the schedule include another meet with Lisbon/Oak Hill and Monmouth (Jan. 8), a meet at Dirigo against the Cougars, Madison and Medomak Valley (Jan. 22). The Mid State League Championships will be held at Mountain Valley High School on Feb. 1.

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