Patriots rout Noble in home opener

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BENNINGTON — For the first home match of the year, the Mount Anthony wrestling team was amped up, ready to show the local fans that they are more than ready in their quest for a 31st consecutive state championship.

Against Noble, Maine, on Friday, eight Patriots pinned their opponents in the first period, en route to a 75-6 thumping of the Knights at Kates Gym.

"Being the first home match, guys are ready," said MAU coach Brian Coon. "There's a lot of excitement in this team. They really work hard and the team is close and that adds to how much guys want to win [for their teammates]."

Landon Davis, Sam Blackman, Kyle Hurley, Keenan Taylor, Adam Frost, Sam Wilkins, Chris Mayer and Hayden Gaudette all earned first-period falls.

Starting at 113, Blackman scored a quick takedown before sticking Lincoln Lambert at 1 minute, 10 seconds.

The longest match of the night came at 120 as Christian Burdick scored a 10-6 decision over Jaden Balcewitz, the No. 1 wrestler in his weight class in Maine.

Burdick took a 3-2 lead after the first period, but in the second period, he allowed a reversal as Balcewitz took the lead. But Burdick battled back for a takedown later on and took a 5-4 lead to the third.

Starting in the down position, Burdick scored a reversal of his own to take a 7-4 lead and worked to get three near-fall points to open up the gap. Balcewitz got a reversal of his own late, but Burdick held on for the win.

"Christian is one of those guys who want to be a part of this," Coon said. "He was forcing it a little bit early, but for him to be able to regroup there, not get down, that was a big thing for him."

At 126, Kyle Hurley continued his strong early-season with a pin in 25 seconds to make it 15-0 MAU. Noble got its only win at 132, as Josh Cote pinned Jack Ware in 3:36. Cote, who finished fifth at 120 pounds at the New England championship last year, took a 3-2 lead after one period, but turned up the pressure in the second period, after Ware was called for stalling a second time in the match. After the call, Cote earned an escape and takedown, the latter of which led to the fall.

MAU wouldn't lose again on the night, with Taylor following at 138 pounds with a pin in 31 seconds before Keegan Coon pinned Duncan McGillvray in 3:04 for his 100th career victory.

"I'm proud of him. As a coach and his dad, I'm really proud," Coon said. "He brings it every day in the practice room, always one of the hardest workers. He wants to win."

Gage McLaughlin won by injury default over Maine state champion Sam Martel at 152 pounds. McLaughlin took a 8-0 lead after one period, a time stopped multiple times for blood. In the second period, Martel suffered an injury and the Noble coaches decided to concede the matchup.

Stephen Brillon pinned Logan Rendell at 160 after Rendell tried the same move twice early in the second period, setting the table for Brillon to reverse the move and go for the fall.

Frost pinned Chris Pilcher at 170 before Logan Sprague pinned Jacob Mulligan at 182 pounds in 3:24. Trailing 8-2 early in the second period, Sprague turned the tide, picking up Mulligan and slamming him to the mat for the fall.

Returning New England champion Sam Wilkins has started his defense undefeated, pinning Blake Ouellette in 59 seconds, before Chris Mayer and Hayden Gaudette each secured first period pins at 220 and 285, respectively.

"All the heavyweight guys are 15-20 pounds lighter than their opponents," Coon said. "We have guys moving up and down because they all weigh close to the same. To fill the lineup, guys have to move around."

Landon Davis finished off the victory at 106 with a pin in his first home match on the varsity, sticking Alex Marchand in 1:07.

"We had a lot of quality wins tonight," Coon said. "They just keep impressing me."

MAU travels to the Londonderry, N.H., tournament on Saturday and host St. Johnsbury next week at Kates Gym.


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