30th championship in sight for Patriots

BRANDON — The Mount Anthony wrestling team's quest for its 30th straight state championship is on schedule as 11 of the 13 Patriots have reached the state semifinals after Day 1 of the Vermont state tournament at Otter Valley Union High School.

Semifinalists include Julian Granger at 120 pounds, Keenan Taylor at 126, Noah Call at 132, Gage McLaughlin at 138, Keegan Coon at 145, Tyler Burgess at 152, Adam Osha at 160, Chris Mayer at 182, Sam Wilkins at 195, Colin Crowley at 220 and Calvin Hayford at 285.

"I was tense coming in today, but the guys are loose, joking around," said MAU coach Brian Coon. "I don't think they worry about it being [30 in a row]. It's just another tournament and if we stay that way [Saturday], we'll be good."

Many of the Mount Anthony matches were over in the first period. Taylor pinned Mill River's Amelia Jones in 49 seconds, Call beat Colchester' Ben Stapleton in 1:03.

Gage McLaughlin advanced to the semifinal after a pin in 1:08 of Spaulding's Hunter Chase with McLaughlin earning the fall with his signature cradle maneuver.

Coon pinned Burr and Burton's Kole Blanchard in 22 seconds, while Tyler Burgess, looking to defend his state championship, pinned Vergennes' Barret Barrows in 38 seconds.

Adam Osha made quick work of BBA's Cole O'Connor at 160 pounds, getting the early takedown and sticking O'Connor in 1:34.

At the heavyweights, Crowley pinned St. Johnsbury's Kopcznski in 1:09 and Hayford took down and pinned Otter Valley's Jared Denis in 19 seconds.

At 182, Mayer took the early lead en route to a 19-3 technical fall. In the match against Williamstown's Shane Hill, Mayer had six takedowns to roll to the semifinal.

At 195, Wilkins and Williamstown's Darion Stone battled to a scoreless first period as Stone scrambled away from takedown attempts by Wilkins.

Wilkins caught the senior early in the second after a locked hands penalty, turning him over for a reversal and putting him to his back for a fall at 2:23.

Mount Anthony's freshmen at the lower weights had more pronounced struggles. At 120, Granger pinned BBA's Bailey Pinsonnault in 5:39. Granger scored takedowns in both the first and second period before Pinsonneault got on the board with an escape in the third. But another takedown led to the pin to send Granger to the semifinals.

Two Patriots were knocked into the consolation brackets. At 113 pounds, Brodie Krawczyk faced Fair Haven's Sam Worthing. Krawczyk trailed 4-1 into the second period before Worthing turned up the heat and gained a fall at 3:01. The loss knocks Krawczyk into the consolation rounds looking to come back for a third place finish and a spot in the New England tournament.

At 170 pounds, Stephen Brillon, the No. 7 seed coming in, opened his tournament against No. 2 Colby Giroux of Mount Mansfield.

Giroux scored a takedown early but then Brillon scored on a reversal to tie the match. Giroux reversed himself seconds later to take a 4-2 lead to the second period. Giroux started from the down position and earned another reversal, setting up a fall in 4:52 and sending Brillon to the consolation where he'll face Fair Haven's Gable Shaddock in a placement match.

"I thought they wrestled well, the guys that lost were to the No. 2 seeds," Coon said. "Hopefully they can come back for third to make the New Englands."

Mount Anthony will face some tough matches in the semifinal on Saturday morning. Granger will face Essex's Noah Bonning, the top seed at 120 pounds. Call will have a matchup with the No. 4 seed in Isaac Hahr from St. Johnsbury and Osha will have another matchup with Dakota Peters from Rutland, the No. 2 seed at 160 pounds. Mayer will wrestle Kevin Pearsall from Mount Abe in the semifinal at 182.

"The semifinal will be the make or break round. There's some good matches in the semi, it will be huge to separate from the rest of the field," Coon said. "If we wrestle loose and to win, we can win those matches."

For Burr and Burton, it was a tough opening day with five of the team's six wrestlers knocked into the consolation rounds after losses on Friday.

The only BBA wrestler still alive in the winners' bracket is Kendra Beavin at 106 pounds, but with only five wrestlers in the class, Beavin moved forward into the semifinals without wrestling on Friday due to byes.

Bailey Pinsonnault (120), Kole Blanchard (145), O'Connor (160) and Nick Williams (170) all lost their opening matches and fall to the wrestlebacks. Joe McNealus lost both his matches at 138 and is out.

In arguably the toughest weight of the tournament, Williams, the No. 4 seed, faced Harwood's Sully O'Hara, the No. 5 seed in the opening round. O'Hara took control early with a takedown, then gained two more points on a reversal in the second period for a 4-0 lead. In the third, O'Hara gained another takedown and put Williams to his back for a fall in 5:04. Williams won in his consolation match against Lake Region's Zach Barrup and moves on to face Springfield's Matt Prosser in the consolation semifinals.


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