Patriots strong in state tourney tune-up
BENNINGTON — The Mount Anthony wrestling team had a good tune-up for the upcoming state tournament with a successful MAU Jamboree on Saturday.
The Patriots only lost two matches all day against mostly in-state competition, including Otter Valley, Burr and Burton, Springfield, Rutland, Mill River, Bellows Falls, Fair Haven and Con-Val, from Keene, N.H.
"We want to use this as a gauge to get ready for the postseason," said MAU coach Scott Legacy. "We were looking to wrestle from all different positions as much as we can. We got some big wins today, which is positive going forward. We had a chance to study oursevles from the mat."
Excluding forfeits, Calvin Hayford at 285 pounds, Dakota King (195) and Tyler Raetz (138) all went 5-0 in contested bouts. Gage McLaughlin (132), Zach Sauer (152) and Tyler Burgess (160) were 4-0, while Tyson Sauer (106), Keenan Taylor (120) and Sebastian Rocher (220) ended up 3-0, with Ashdin Schaefer (113), Calvin Call (126) and AJ Wright were 2-0.
Chris Mayer was 4-1, his only defeat to two-time state placer and former state champ Zach Allen from Mill River. Austin Prendergast lost to Con-Val's Dan Curran, a wrestler ranked No. 2 in New Hampshire.
Six MAU "B" wrestlers also competed. Zac Oldham was 4-0 at 285, while Colin Crowley (182 pounds) and Noah Call (113) were both 2-0. Bryce Bush was 3-1, while Noah Stein went 2-2. Devyn Allen was 2-3.
Rocher avenged a loss to Bellows Falls' Jake Lober at 220 pounds. Down 4-2 in the third period, Rocher took advantage of a locked hands penalty and an escape to tie the match at 4-4 with less than 20 seconds left. In the final seconds, Rocher escaped again for the 5-4 victory as many of his teammates were on the corner of the mat to congratulate him as he came off.
"Lots of kids will be at the states and this tournament was for seeding," Rocher said. "I worked hard all week, watching film and going hard in practice. I had no doubt I was going to win. It helps when you have the guys cheering you on, it's good to have your friends there for you.
At 152 pounds, senior Zach Sauer stepped into the lineup and went unbeaten in a tune-up for the state tournament on Feb. 26 and 27 at Mill River.
"We focused on [wrestling] neutral, trying to work in different techniques that you never know if you might need them in the state tournament," Legacy said. "Zach came in and went 4-0 today."
Even for wrestlers who were unbeaten on Saturday, the Jamboree provided the opportunity to improve against in-state competition.
At 138 pounds, Tyler Raetz topped Otter Valley's Tyson Cram. Raetz beat Cram in a close match earlier in the season, but on Saturday, Raetz fired up in the third period and ended up getting a major decision.
Saturday was the final dual meet event for Legacy, whose record is an astonishing 696-36-2 since 1985, a winning percentage higher than 95 percent and one of the top 15 records in the United States. Legacy hadn't lost an in-state dual since 1989. Legacy will move to the college ranks next season starting a program at Castleton University.
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