Patriots have seven top seeds for states

BENNINGTON — Seven Mount Anthony wrestlers were seeded No. 1 as the Patriots aim for their 30th straight Vermont state title this weekend at Otter Valley High School.

Keenan Taylor (126 pounds), Noah Call (132), Gage McLaughlin (138), Keegan Coon (145), Tyler Burgess (152), Sam Wilkins (195) and Calvin Hayford (285) were all put in the top spot based on their body of work from the season.

"The middle-weight guys work together and so do the big guys," said MAU coach Brian Coon. "So it makes sense that those kids would be around the same [seeds]."

Taylor comes into states at 43-2, the same record as No. 2 seed Ben Murray from Middlebury.

Coon said he feels one of the best weights is 132. Call comes in at 31-3 after missing the early part of the season, but No. 2 Roman Mayer from Mount Abe is 41-3. Middlebury's Dustin Davio is No. 3 at 25-6, followed by St. Johnsbury's Isaac Hahar at No. 4 with a record of 35-9.

"If you're looking for a [weight class] that will have a pair of wars in the semifinals, it's definitely at 132," Coon said.

At 138, Gage McLaughlin is the top seed, followed by Lake Region's Josh Roberts (23-4). St. Johnsbury's Cody Pennypacker is the No. 3 seed followed by Mount Abe's Gary Conant.

Keegan Coon is at the top of the 145-pound list, one that only has six wrestlers, a very low number for a middle-weight class.

Coon comes into states with a 44-4 record, ahead of Spaulding's Hunter Quero, the No. 2 seed with a record of 29-7.

"Since the [MVL] Jamboree, they've picked it up a notch," said assistant coach Jeremy Burns after practice on Wednesday. "They are going harder in practice and we've been pushing them. The end of the season is here, it's time [for them] to show what [they] can do."

Tyler Burgess will be looking for his second straight state title as the top-seed at 152 after a 34-5 record this year. The No. 2 seed is CVU's Justin Bissonette, who comes in only at 17-4 after missing part of the season. Fair Haven's Dylan Lee is the No. 3 seed at 152 pounds.

"Tyler has been in the program since his freshman season and he's really becoming a leader," Burns said.

Going up to the heavy weights, Sam Wilkins looks to defend his state title moving up from 160 to 195. Wilkins is the top seed, coming into states with a record of 46-1. But the top four seeds at 195 — Spaulding's Ryan Walbridge, Essex's Alex Rizvanov and Springfield's Mason Olney — all have six losses or less.

Hayford, at 285 pounds, also has a 46-1 record and took the top seed over St. Johnsbury's Hunter Ladd (41-2) by virtue of a win over a common opponent that beat Ladd. Milton's Sam Gebo is a strong third seed with a 34-2 record.

Essex has five No. 1 seeds — Ben Stewart at 106 pounds, Noah Bonning at 120, Seth Carney at 160, Jack Carney at 170 and James Danis at 182.

St. Johnsbury's Hunter Verge is the top seed at 113 after a stellar season in which he went 43-0. Milton's Nick Johnson, the New England champion, is No. 1 at 220.

"Essex is closing the gap by leaving Vermont and competing at big tournaments," Coon said.

MAU's Chris Mayer, after a 41-9 regular season, is the No. 2 seed to Essex's James Danis, who comes into states at 38-5.

"[In the seeding meeting], it nearly came down to a coin-flip between Mayer and Danis," Coon said.

"He's probably pushing the hardest of anyone in the room," Burns added.

Colin Crowley is a No. 2 seed at 220 with a record of 46-2 behind the undefeated Johnson.

"The seeds are clear for some guys and not for others, they don't look at strength of schedule," Coon said. "Most of the criteria is head-to-head and common opponents."

Adam Osha is the No. 3 seed at 160 pounds after finishing third at 152 at states last year for Randolph. Osha is behind the Essex sophomore Carney and Rutland junior Dakota Peters. Carney comes in at 41-6 and Peters is 17-4. Osha is 40-7 with Middlebury's Joe Whitley — who Osha beat in the consolations at states last year — the No. 4 seed at 29-2.

"Everyone was 1-1 against the others, so it was pretty even," Coon said.

Burr and Burton's Cole O'Connor is the No. 6 seed at 160 after a 26-11 regular season.

Julian Granger is the No. 4 seed at 120 pounds after an up-and-down freshman campaign where he went 27-15. Bonning, the Essex junior, is the No. 1 seed, followed by Williamstown's Josh Hanlon and Otter Valley's David Williams.

In another tough weight class, Stephen Brillon is the No. 7 seed at 170 after a 25-14 season.

"He doesn't have a lot of experience, but he's filling a role for us and he's done his job throughout the year," Burns said. "I expect to see him on the podium."

Jack Carney is the top seed at 170, followed by Mount Mansfield's Colby Giroux, Otter Valley's Josh Beayon and Burr and Burton's Nick Williams.

Williams comes in with a 28-15 record after recording his 100th career win earlier this season.

"Williams is a good wrestler and he can beat anyone on any given day," Coon said.

Brodie Krawczyk is unseeded at 113 after going 14-24 this season.

Other unseeded Burr and Burton competitors include: Kendra Beavin (106), Ben James (120), Bailey Pinsonnealt (126), Joe McNealus (138), Kole Blanchard (145) and Patrick Dang (285).

MAU won last year's tournament going away, with 289 points. Essex was second, followed by Champlain Valley and St. Johnsbury.


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