By Ernie Clark of the news staff - BREWER - Midseason wrestling meets serve a variety of purposes for the participants, and the results have a similarly wide range of meanings.
Some teams compete at full strength, while others hold out injured competitors for the more important conference and regional championships later in the season. Still other wrestlers compete at different weight classes in order to gain match experience.
But one thing that became clear during a multi-team meet hosted by Brewer High School Wednesday night is that the Eastern Maine Class C wrestling world is a highly competitive entity this year, with several schools capable of winning the title.
"It's going to be up for grabs," said Foxcroft Academy junior Jerod Rideout, a two-time defending state champion who earned his 100th career win at the Sanford Redskin Invitational last weekend. "You use a match like this to get motivated to make progress before the regionals and the states."
Dexter emerged as the top team on this occasion, defeating Class C rivals Foxcroft (52-28) and Bucksport (42-38) as well as Class A Brewer (66-18).
"This was a tough meet," said first-year Tigers' head coach Adam Gudroe. "These were the top teams in Eastern Maine, and for us to wrestle as well as we did is a big confidence boost for us."
Dexter avenged two earlier losses this winter to an undermanned Foxcroft team while defeating Bucksport for the second time in recent weeks, thanks to strong efforts by undefeated senior Jeremiah Barkac (112 pounds) and teammates Mike O'Connor (103), Brian O'Connor (119), Lee Morgan (171) and Mike Lockhart (285).
Bucksport earned two wins in team competition, topping Foxcroft 43-36 and Brewer 49-30, while Foxcroft earned a 56-24 victory over Brewer.
Bucksport was led by reigning individual state champion Jon Pelletier, who won three matches at 140 pounds, including a 4-3 overtime survival of Foxcroft's Ethan Whittemore in one of the night's top matches.
Other three-match winners for the Golden Bucks were Shawn Powell (125), Ray Wood (135), Kasey Pelletier (145), Stephen Klenowski (160) and Craig Woodard (215).
"The biggest thing with a meet like this is the match experience," said Bucksport coach Larry Clement. "These were four good squads, all high-caliber, and you come to a meet like this and feed off the intensity.
"Overall I thought the kids who stepped on the mat wrestled hard. We came close to finally beating Dexter, we were right there with them in a very competitive match, and we beat Foxcroft for the second time this year in a very competitive match."
Wrestling at 152 pounds instead of his customary 145, Rideout earned three individual victories for Foxcroft, as did 130-pound Colby Johnson, another recent member of the 100-win club.
Senior Bill Macomber also earned three victories for Foxcroft, all by pin.
And it was a historic night for Brewer's 160-pound Travis Rideout, who earned his 100th career victory by pinning Dexter's John Johnson in 1 minute, 22 seconds.
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