By Ernie Clark of the BDN Staff: BUCKSPORT, Maine — Plenty of high school wrestling tradition shared the mat at Bucksport High School on Wednesday night.
The three-team field included Belfast, the two-time defending Class B state champion, and Bucksport, last year’s Eastern Maine Class C titlist.
But it was another perennial Class C contender, the Dexter Tigers, who emerged with the evening’s dominant performance by sweeping the Lions and Golden Bucks in dual-meet competition.
Dexter upended Belfast 38-36, then handled an undermanned Bucksport squad 52-30 to improve its season’s record to 22-2.
“This tells us that we’ve come a long way from where we first started out,” said Dexter senior Doug Richardson, the defending Class C individual state champion at 189 pounds, after pinning both of his opponents. “We started out a little weak, but as the season’s progressed we’ve definitely stepped it up a lot.”
All three teams suffered significant graduation losses after last season, but Dexter’s ability to find capable replacements in the lower weight classes proved pivotal in the win over Belfast.
Beginning with 112-pound freshman Daniel Webber, the Tigers swept five straight matches to rally from a 24-15 deficit in a team competition that began with the 152-pound weight class.
Webber earned a 9-1 major decision over Derek Philbrook, sophomore Vince Malinauskas tipped Jordan Young 3-2 at 119, freshman 125-pounder Andrew Levensalor pinned Brent Waterman in 2 minutes, 35 seconds, sophomore Bryce Webber (130) pinned Winston Poole in 1:08 and junior Mike Ellis earned a 13-2 major de-cision over Jesse Kamenieski at 135 to clinch the match for the Tigers.
“Some of our young guys turned the corner today and said ‘we’re going to be tough this year and we’re going to make sure people know we’re going to be tough,’ ” said Dexter coach Adam Cote. “We’ve had some good practices over the last few days and talked about how to be explosive in matches and not to give up on the mat, and they went out and did it today.
“I was super impressed, it was a very unexpected win. They wrestled tough and it showed.”
Richardson earned a 48-second pin in his match, while Kasee Wilson edged Peter Kelley 6-5 at 171 pounds and senior Zac Poirier gained his 100th career victory by pinning Belfast’s Justin Boyle at 285.
Boyle took a 2-0 lead with a takedown late in the first round, but Poirier scored a reversal early in the second period that led to his ending the match at 3:01.
“He’s a competitor,” said Poirier of Boyle. “He’s a really big guy and I couldn’t really handle him in the stand up, but I managed to roll him and pin him.”
With the win, Poirier joined Richardson as a 100-match winner on this year’s Dexter squad.
“It means pretty much everything,” he said. “I started out as a freshman and didn’t do very good, and now I’m a senior and I made my 100.”
Dexter had less difficulty with Bucksport, which graduated nine starters off last year’s team and forfeited five weight classes to both the Tigers and Belfast. Richardson, Poirier, Bryce Webber and 103-pound freshman Tyler Salsbury all scored wins on the mat against the Golden Bucks.
Belfast, which lost six starters off last year’s championship squad, defeated Bucksport 57-21 in the evening’s final match. Ethan Fitzjurls scored his second pin of the night at 140 pounds, as did Evan Drinkwater at 103 and Justin Philbrook at 152.
Bucksport’s effort was led by the team’s lone senior, River Robertson, who pinned Dexter’s Wilson in 3:19 and earned a 16-0 technical fall over Belfast’s Kelley.
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