BENNINGTON — On Tuesday night, the Mount Anthony Union High School wrestling team again staked its claim as the team to beat in the state of Vermont.
In its first in-state match of the season, the Patriots steamrolled past St. Johnsbury to a 73-4 victory.
The undermanned Hilltoppers were no match for MAU, who had a 24-0 lead before the first match began because of four forfeits.
"Our kids wrestled really well tonight," said MAU coach Scott Legacy. "They were a little low on numbers tonight that made the score bigger, but I think there were some hard fought matches that I was happy to see us come out on top in."
Senior Calvin Call got things started off right for MAU at the 126 bout with a victory via fall just before the end of the first period, that gave MAU a 30-0 lead.
"I just came out ready to wrestle hard like the rest of my teammates did tonight," Call said. "This was our first match against a Vermont team, so for myself I feel getting a pin is a good start to trying to win another state title."
Fellow senior Tyler Raetz followed up Call's pin with a pin of his own, coming at 5:27 in the 138 bout.
The next match at the 145 bout, would turn out to be the only loss of the night for MAU, when freshman Chris Mayer lost to St. Johnsbury's Johnny Perrault by a 19-7 major decision. Perrault was a state finalist last year for the Hilltoppers
Senior Austin Condo would pick his teammate up in the next bout at 152. Condo put on a great display of strength with a hard double leg takedown that almost got him a pin in the first period. He made up for it in the third period by using the same maneuver to officially clinch the match for MAU after a 13-1 major decision.
"I think we're really starting to grow in the middle weight classes," Legacy said. "Against Noble we had some problems in that area, but I think we're starting to turn it around right now."
The next bout was at 182, where junior Austin Prendergast, in his first match of the season, showed that he was already in mid-season form.
The fiery redhead made quick work of his opponent by driving him down to the mat with a double leg takedown and got the pin in under 50 seconds.
"Having Austin back in the lineup is huge for us," Legacy said. "It makes us strong in the middle and higher weights, which is huge when it comes to getting points come state tournament time."
The best match of the night was the 195-pound bout, where MAU's Dakota King beat last year's state finalist, Hunter Ladd, 7-2, showing off impressive counter moves to any of Ladd's attempts to get him down on the mat.
"Going into tonight, I knew I had to be on my A-game to come out on top," King said. "I just kept battling and using the different moves I have been able to develop over the off-season, which helped me gain the edge in the match and then ultimately win it."
MAU would win the last four matches of the evening via pin, with 220-pounder Sebastian Rocher, 285-pounder Calvin Hayford, 106-pounder Tyson Sauer and 113-pounder Ashdin Schaefer all pinning their opponents for the victory.
Rocher pinned his opponent in 40 seconds, while Hayford went to the third period before scoring the fall, while Sauer and Schaefer each pinned in the first period.
MAU's 120-pounder Keenan Taylor, 132-pounder Gage McLaughlin, 160-pounder Tyler Burgess and 170-pounder AJ Wright all won via forfeit.
With the win, MAU improves to 7-0 on the season. Their next match up will be this upcoming Monday, when the team will participate in the Lowell Holiday Tournament in Lowell, Mass.
"We're off to a good start, but most importantly we're gaining more team chemistry with one another," Legacy said. "We don't want them to be like last year's team or the 27 teams before them since I have been here, we want them to have their own identity and they're finding that out now."