BENNINGTON >> The Mount Anthony wrestling team goes into today's state championship at Mill River as the heavy favorite to win its 28th straight crown.
Mount Anthony coach Scott Legacy compared the season's journey to a roller coaster, and today and Saturday's championships at Mill River as the part where you can enjoy the ride.
"Everyone in line is anxious, and that's how our season was," said Legacy, who will coach his final Vermont state tournament this weekend. "There's ups and downs and turns, all part of
enjoying the ride."
The seeds bear that out, with seven Patriots on the top of their respective weight class.
No. 1 seeds for MAU include Tyson Sauer (56-6) at 106 pounds, Ashdin Schaefer (55-3) at 113,
Keenan Taylor (44-13) at 120, Calvin Call (38-5) at 126, Tyler Raetz (57-3) at 138, Austin
Prendergast (40-8) at 170 and Dakota King (50-7) at 195.
"With Keenan, you might see a lot of losses, but only one in the second half of the season, he really grew as a freshman, Tyson as well," Legacy said. "Others that aren't freshmen, like Dakota and Austin have all grown throughout the season."
Other MAU wrestlers include Gage McLaughlin, the sixth seed at 132, Chris Mayer, the fourth seed at 145, Zach Sauer the third seed at 152, Tyler Burgess, the second seed at 160, AJ
Wright, the second seed at 182 and Sebastian Rocher (second at 220) and Calvin Hayford (second at 285).
"The seeds are what they are, still have to wrestle the matches," Legacy said. "We have the four [2 seeds], so the road is a little tougher. We want to get through day 1, place as many in the semifinals and focus on the next match to get as many individual state titles as possible. Then the team scores take care of itself."
Non-MAU top seeds are CVU's Jarrett Legg at 132, St. Johnsbury's Johnny Perreault at 145,
Essex' John Stawinski at 152 and Jack Carney at 160, Vergennes' Brandon Cousino at 182,
Middlebury's Nick Beauchamp at 220 and Mount Mansfield's Dalton Hallock at 285.
Cousins comes into the state tournament as the only undefeated competitor at 43-0, while
Perreault and Zach Allen each have one loss in the 145 class.
"Chris and Gage are in tough weight classes, they have to take those losses from earlier in the year and turn them around," Legacy said. "Cousino has dominated his weight class all year and Perreault and Allen are headed for a heads-on collision."
During the team's final practice on Thursday, Legacy continued a nearly 30-year tradition, bringing the team up into the balcony in the gym and having them look at the 27 straight state
"I did it for the 28th consecutive time, none of these kids were born then, obviously, but they understand it, they've trained well for it and now it's time to have fun with it," Legacy said.