Mattanawcook Academy dominated the Penobscot Valley Conference wrestling championships held at Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft on Saturday.
All 12 of the Lynx who competed in the 10-school tournament finished among the top four finishers in their respective weight classes, including six individual champions and four runners-up.
“We did well today,” Mattanawcook head coach Matthew Lindsay said. “There’s always things to work on. We’re always trying to fine-tune things but I think overall they had a really good day.”
Mattanawcook finished with 219 points to roar past 2020 conference champion Dexter, which placed second with 124 points to edge third-place Piscataquis of Guilford (120).
Bucksport was fourth with 109 points, followed by Ellsworth (84), Foxcroft Academy (67), Washington Academy of East Machias (38), Old Town (23), Caribou (18) and Mount Desert Island of Bar Harbor (13).
Mattanawcook’s championship-winning effort was led by undefeated captains Jackson Sutherland and Isaac Hainer.
Sutherland, a senior who is undefeated throughout his career against in-state competition, pinned all three opponents he faced to capture the 170-pound title. Hainer, a junior, had similar success during his two matches en route to winning the 182-pound crown.
“Today was mostly about the team, and making sure all of the guys are doing good,” Sutherland said. “Our team performed amazing today. I was very impressed with every one of our guys. I think our guys won every match they were supposed to win and even guys out there competing in matches that they probably shouldn’t win, they’re giving it all they’ve got.”
Also earning individual championships for the Lynx were Deegan Tidswell (113 pounds), Cole Albert (120), Connor Langerak (126) and Owen Harper (132) as Mattanawcook ruled most of the lower weight classes.
Tidswell had to fight just once, a 52-second pin of runner-up Nathan Durgin of Foxcroft Academy, to win his conference championship as they were the lone entrants in their weight class.
The size of the field for each of the 14 weight classes was small by PVC standards, with just 83 wrestlers competing overall, including 12 girls. Woodland also was supposed to field a team for the meet but was unable to attend because of the impact of Friday’s snowstorm Down East, meet officials said.
Second-place finishes came in support of Sutherland and Hainer in the upper weight classes from Emmitt Fitch at 160 pounds, Alex Munson at 195 and James Dube at 220 as well as from Wyatt Leighton at 106.
Maddox Tash (145 pounds) added a third-place finish for the Lynx while Carter Noble was fourth at 138.
Two of the top championship matches of the day came in the 160- and 220-pound finals won by sophomore Gage Beaudry of Foxcroft and junior Jaxon Gross of Bucksport.
Beaudry outlasted MA’s Fitch 7-6 after rallying late in the second period and then taking the lead with a takedown with 35 seconds left in the match before fighting off a takedown bid by Fitch in the final 20 seconds.
Undefeated this season at 220 but coming off a recent illness, Gross had all he could handle from MA’s Dube, a sophomore in his first year of high school wrestling.
Gross moved out to an early 5-0 lead, but Dube scored takedowns in the second period and 30 seconds into the third period to close to within 5-4.
With time winding down and Dube needing two points for a victory he allowed Gross a one-point escape to make it 6-4 margin, but it was Gross who rallied to score the next takedown to secure the hard-fought victory.
Four schools each crowned two individual champions, Dexter with Garrett Tibbetts (106 pounds) and Nathan Schobel (195), Piscataquis with Nate Bock (138) and Alex Zeller (145), Foxcroft with Beaudry and Skylar Gibbs (152) and Bucksport with Gross and Grayson Fernald (285).
But it was a Mattanawcook team in search of its first state championship in the sport that left the conference meet most poised for collective success at the next level, the Class B North regional next Saturday at Belfast Area High School.
“This is a good first step,” Lindsay said. “It gives us a really good gauge of where we are and the things we’ve got to be working on. The difference between this week and next week is I think is only two more teams showing up so we’ve got to look at their rosters and see what our potential matchups are going to be, and when the seedings come out we just have to do our best to take it one match at a time.”