BENNINGTON — The Mount Anthony wrestling team had a strong tune-up with the state tournament coming up at the end of the month, going 4-0 at the Mount Anthony Duals on Saturday afternoon.
MAU won matches against Nashua North (N.H.), 74-4, Cumberland, R.I., 60-12, South Windsor, Conn., 58-18 and Xavier, Conn., 57-15, improving to 27-1 in dual meets this season.
"Xavier is a very good team, they nearly beat [Bishop] Hendricken," said MAU coach Scott Legacy in his final event at Kates Gym. "Kids are finding a way to step up in circumstances where they wrestle better against better teams. We wrestled CVU that way and against Xavier today. They stepped their game up, which is great with the postseason coming."
Seven Patriots were perfect on the day, including Tyson Sauer at 106 pounds, Keenan Taylor (120), Zach Sauer (132), Tyler Raetz (138), Tyler Burgess (160), AJ Wright (182) and Calvin Hayford at 285 pounds.
Ashdin Schaefer (113), Austin Prendergast (170), Dakota King (195) and Sebastian Rocher were 3-1, while Gage McLaughlin (126) and Chris Mayer (145) were 2-2. Austin Condo (152) went 1-3.
"This was harder competition today, it's good to schedule [the teams for] this tournament, we need to get that level of competition before states," said King. "We needed the hard work to see where we're at and what we need to work on."
Against South Windsor, the Patriots started with a 19-5 major and a pair of pins before Condo fell to make it 16-6. Burgess made it 22-6 after a first period pin before Prendergast was pinned in 1:24. Wright and King won by forfeit before Rocher scored a fall in 1:52 and Hayford pinned his opponent in 2:42.
Hayford had arguably the best day individually with three pins and an 11-4 decision in his four matches.
"Calvin is turning into a heavyweight," Legacy said. "We're still working through some mental things, but he took a deep breath and resolved it; he beat a couple of good heavyweights today."
Tyson Sauer pinned in the first period at 106 before Ashdin Schaefer lost 6-4 in overtime at 113 pounds. Leading 2-0 after two periods, Schaefer started on top in the third and gave up a reversal to tie the match at 2-2. Schaefer worked back for a reversal of his own to make it 4-2, but South Windsor's Devin Schoenberger gained control with five seconds left to knot it at 4-4, sending the match to overtime.
In overtime, Schoenberger got the last word with a takedown with 13 seconds to go to win 6-4.
After a forfeit, McLaughlin ended the dual with a 9-6 loss at 126.
Against Xavier, Mayer started with a 3-1 win, while Condo was pinned in 5:05 to go down 6-3 after the first two matches. Then MAU won the next four matches, starting with Burgess' pin at 3:59. Prendergast came back after the loss for a dominating 23-8 tech fall at 170 and King battled back off a loss against Cumberland with a pin in 42 seconds.
"Dakota's coming alive, he lost to the No. 1 wrestler in Rhode Island, he got down 5-0 and came back, but lost 6-5," Legacy said. "He made a couple of mistakes in that match, but came back strong."
Rocher dropped a tough 3-0 decision at 220 before Hayford's 11-4 win at heavyweight. Tyson Sauer pinned in 48 seconds and Schaefer came back in a big way against Xavier with a pin at 3:00. Keenan Taylor got down 5-0 in his match early at 120 before coming back with a pin at 3:32.
"Keenan's a fighter, he guts things out," Legacy said. "He doesn't always have the right positions but he bounces back and then he broke his man mentally. It was the same with Tyler [Raetz], he imposed his will and in a tight match we could break the kid. If you can break them at this point in the season, that bodes well for the postseason.
MAU will finish the regular season with a tri-match on Wednesday and will compete at the state championship at Mill River on Feb. 26-27.