Catamount wrestlers compete for regional title

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BENNINGTON — Just last weekend, they watched their high school counterparts compete at the annual New England wrestling tournament.

This weekend, members of the Catamount Wrestling Club from third to eighth grade will do the same, looking to win a regional crown of their own.

"Ten of the middle school kids qualified through states back in February," said coach Jason Dicranian. "They finished in the top three to qualify, just like the high school kids do. The youth kids (grades three through six) qualified through their own tournament."

The event takes place on Saturday and Sunday at Saint Anselm's College in New Hampshire.

Club members practiced in the wrestling room at the high school this week with coaches Jason Dicranian and James Mason overlooking their progress.

"It's good to see the numbers, most of these guys are eighth-graders, and they'll be at the high school next year," Dicranian said. "You earn it here just like you do in high school. They've been working hard for the past two, three weeks to get ready for this tournament."

Four of the middle-school wrestlers — Domenick Peters, Fred Gates, Landon Quackenbush and Skyler Francis — are wrestling in the top three weights, 188, 215 and 260 pounds.

Looking forward, Chris Mayer at 220 pounds, graduates and heavyweight Hayden Gaudette will only be a sophomore for the Patriots.

"It's good to have the big guys, these guys are going to be the future for the varsity programs," Dicranian said. "A lot of guys were wrestling underweight this year, so we have some true heavyweights can fill in if necessary."

A bunch of the Patriots' varsity lineup are underclassmen, including Gaudette, Landon Davis, Christian Burdick, Sam Blackman and Kyle Hurley, among others.

Gaudette and Landon Davis both placed last year at this event.

Another wrestler with a chance to place is Aaron Johnson. He's a two-time Vermont champion and was one match short of placing at last year's regional tournament. He's competing at 130 pounds.

Dicranian said he thinks that the younger brother of one of those varsity guys could surprise.

"Devon Hurley just started wrestling this year and he's had an awesome season," said Dicranian. "He's one to watch."

Catamount club members attending include: Logan Davis, Alex Brown, Ethan McGucking, Devon Hurley, Shawn Gassaway, Aaron Johnson, Holden Harrington, Domenick Peters, Fred Gates, Landon Quackenbush, Skyler Francis, Cole Johnson, Jacoby Dicranian, Tyler Monick, Duncan Harrington, Asa Reis, Ian Denue. Reis is a defending New England champion in the youth levels at 77 pounds.

Wrestling begins for the youth kids from grades 3-6 on Saturday, while the middle school tournament begins on Sunday.

"I'm excited to go down and be with these guys," Dicranian said. "I try to tell them to have fun, wrestle like you have all year, it's just another tournament. Go down and do your best, hopefully we can have a couple of placers.


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