BENNINGTON -- It was more of a struggle then Mount Anthony Union High School wrestling coach Scott Legacy would like, but the Patriots grinded out a 33-15 win over defending Rhode Island champion Bishop Hendricken, cementing MAU's place in the region's top echelon.
"It worried me at the beginning, I wasn't sure what to expect," Legacy said. "We matched up very well, we didn't know what would happen."
Starting at 182 pounds, senior Austin Price scored a solid 9-4 victory over Hunter Boesch to give MAU an early advantage. At 195, Tyler Mattison took a sizable lead, but nearly gave it all back in the final seconds of the match, surviving 12-10.
Jack Luciano made it 3-for-3 for MAU with a gutsy 3-2 win, holding off a game Pierre-Louis Arcand to extend the advantage to 9-0.
Jesse Webb won his 212th career match against Dallas Sauer, scoring takedowns at will in a 13-1 major decision that made the score 13-0.
"Sauer's probably No. 1 in Rhode Island. Jesse is Jesse, but I think he missed a couple opportunities," Legacy said.
But even at that point, ahead 13-0, Legacy said he was still nervous.
"We avoided getting pinned, it's huge, but they did a good job of it too," Legacy said. "When they got through 285 close, they had to feel good at that point."
Calvin Call lost 7-5 to Jon Celico to give Hendricken some momentum, but Tyler Raetz grabbed it right back for the Patriots with a 3-1 win over Nick Celico at 113, scoring a late takedown in the third period for the win.
Troy Gassaway remained undefeated after a seemingly easy win at 120, 13-1 major decision over Anthony Lanni to make it 20-3, MAU.
Then senior Rachel Hale had a great match with Jamie Swanson at 126, taking a 3-2 after one and a 7-4 lead after two periods, using some textbook moves to score on her opponent.
"It was weird, I don't get too nervous," Hale said. "Some matches are more sentimental than others. Being senior night, I was nervous, it's the last hurrah under the lights. It felt good to get the win."
"Rachel coming back and winning was big, and Tyler Raetz was huge," Legacy said.
Dylan LaFountain added another major decision at 132 pounds and then Bailey Willard clinched for MAU with a 7-0 win over Jon Arruda.
"I felt I did really good, sometimes I go after it and then die out at the end," Willard said. "I had good intensity and kept it through the whole match."
Damon Young finished the event with a win over Jimmy Sauro for the final 33-15 score.
"We're peaking at the right time and coming together as a whole," Hale said.