8 Patriots win in MAU Tournament
BENNINGTON -- The final score will show the host Mount Anthony Union High School wrestling team winning its own tournament by nearly 100 points over New Milford, Conn.
But according to MAU coach Scott Legacy and many of the other teams that traveled to Bennington for the annual day-long tournament, it was one of the toughest in years.
"The kids had to grind out their matches," Legacy said. "A lot of good teams come to this tournament, overall I'm pretty happy with our performance."
The Patriots put 11 of their 15 wrestlers into the finals, with eight coming out with tournament championships -- Troy Gassaway at 120 pounds, Dylan LaFountain at 132, Noble Shaler at 152 and then every wrestler from 170 pounds to 285: Damon Young, Austin Price, Tyler Mattison, Jack Luciano and Jesse Webb.
In the team score, Mount Anthony had 291 to top New Milford's 195. Franklin, (Mass.)'s 140.5 was third, while Mt. Hope (Rhode Island) and Guilderland, N.Y. were fourth and fifth, respectively.
Gassaway was the most dominant competitor on the day for the Patriots, winning his first three matches by pin in under 1:10. In the final against Franklin's Ben Zogby, Gassaway was methodical in his domination, scoring a pair of takedowns in both the first and second period en route to an 11-3 major decision.
"Troy isn't just wrestling to win, he's wrestling to dominate," Legacy said.
Zogby, who finished fourth at New Englands last year, faced Gassaway in the second round at 113 pounds and lost 4-3 to the Patriot junior.
"The difference between last year and this year is impressive, last year he settled for 4-3, this year, he's just trying to score points," Legacy said.
"I was just trying to make a statement," Gassaway said after the finals win. He improved his career record to 126-8 with the major decision and was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler for the lower weights.
At 132 pounds, Dylan LaFountain won a tournament title with a 6-3 decision over Salem's Luke Fronhofer. That win was LaFountain's 100th career victory. After the match, he got a sign made up to celebrate the milestone and immediately took it up into the stands to his family.
"He's been steady this year, I think there's a lot more to come for him ... He has a lot more to give," Legacy said. "He was bouncing around the first couple of years, when older guys like Chris Schramm were in the lineup. Those 100 wins have come from a lot of different weight classes."
In the final, LaFountain scored a takedown and two near fall points for a 4-0 first-period lead. Fronhofer escaped from the bottom for the only point in the second, but LaFountain effectively worked a reversal in the third to get the win.
Noble Shaler, at 152 pounds, scored three falls in his first three matches, including a second-period pin in the semifinal over New Milford's Isiah Jenkins. In the final, Shaler grinded a 1-0 win over Franklin senior Joe Fournier, who had also won his first three matches by pin.
After a scoreless first period, Shaler escaped from the bottom for the only point he would need to win the crown.
"That kid was athletic and Noble just stuck to basics and grinded it out," Legacy said. "He only started wrestling a couple years ago, and he works hard at it. It shows what hard work and focus can do."
Then the final five MAU wrestlers in the lineup all won their finals, from 170 to 285.
Young won a 9-2 decision over Guilderland's Andy Cummings, Price earned a hard-fought 4-2 decision over Mt.Hope's John Peronni and Tyler Mattison won by injury default over Griffin Tighe from Franklin at 195.
At 220, another milestone was reached when Jack Luciano scored his 100th win in the finals, topping Mt. Hope's Tyler Fenwick, 7-4.
Then at 285, Webb improved his career record to 182-9 with a first-period pin over Mt. Hope's Jared Souza, who had beaten Jesse's brother Perle from the MAU B in the semifinal. Webb was named the outstanding wrestler in the upper weights with three pins in three matches, all in the opening period.
Jacob Woodside at 160 was second, as was Bailey Willard at 138 and Ashdin Schaefer at 99. Woodside held Andrew D'Amico scoreless for the first two periods of his final, but gave up two takedowns late in a 5-1 defeat. Willard fell 8-2 to New Milford junior Zack Arnold, while Schaefer fell in a close 3-2 decision to Guilderland's David Wolanski.
"Jacob methodically moves through a match, it's not exciting, but he was right there," Legacy said. "He took a good step [forward] today."
Tyler Raetz was third at 113, while Calvin Call was fourth at 106. Taber Watson and Darren Ruiz-Sauer did not place.
From the MAU B team, Perle Webb wrestled back for third, while Rachel Hale finished fourth at 126 after beating Watson in the consolation semifinals and losing to Averill Park's Joe Toth in both the championship round and in the third-place match.
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