Six win titles as Patriots take MAU tournament
BENNINGTON — It was business as usual on Saturday for the Mount Anthony wrestling team, as they had 11 finalists and six championships to cruise to a victory in the 32nd annual Mount Anthony tournament.
Mount Anthony scored 234.5 points, well ahead of St. Johnsbury in second with 135. The Gilbert School, out of Connecticut, finished third with 102 points.
Salem-Cambridge was fourth with 100, followed by Colchester and Otter Valley tied for fifth with 61 points.
Just out of the top five was the Mount Anthony B with 59 in seventh.
Champions for the Patriots including Jordan Ross at 106 pounds, Keegan Coon (138), Aaron Johnson (145), Adam Frost (160), Sam Wilkins (195) and Hayden Gaudette (285).
"I knew the competition in the finals would be good and we won some close matches earlier in the tournament to get into the final," said MAU coach Brian Coon. "I thought we wrestled pretty well overall. Our conditioning has improved dramatically."
Ross won a three-person round-robin bracket at 106, topping Colchester's Collin Duffy in the final in 4 minutes, 48 seconds. The win was his first varsity tournament victory.
"I thought he wrestled well, but he's still thinking about winning and losing instead of just getting out there and going after it," Coon said.
Coon moved down to 138 pounds and didn't miss a beat, pinning all three of his opponents, including Fair Haven's Sam Worthing in 3:25 in the final.
Another first-time winner at the varsity tournament level was Aaron Johnson at 145 pounds. Johnson, who had been wrestling up in weight class all season, was the second seed at 145 and pinned his first two opponents en route to the final against Otter Valley's Levi Cram.
During the final, Cram got his leg twisted underneath and after a couple minutes trying to work on it, he was forfeited out and Johnson won by injury default.
"It had to feel good to be down at a weight that he's equally strong," Coon said.
At 160 pounds, Adam Frost ran through his bracket with a pair of pins and then a 16-2 major decision in the final over Mount Abraham's Nate Lavoie. Frost, who won the 160-pound bracket at the Lowell Holidays in December, is 17-3 on the year after the 3-0 showing on Saturday.
"Everyone knows the leg [attack] is coming, but he's so good at scoring with it, it reminds me of Steve Forrest ... everyone knew he would hit the slide-by and it didn't matter, he still hit it on everyone. If you master your skill, you can score points and Adam has stuck to it," Coon said.
Sam Wilkins was the champion at 195 pounds, topping a bracket with only five wrestlers. He pinned Salem-Cambridge's Lucas Martindale in the semifinal before beating The Gilbert School's Bajram Gutic with a 19-0 tech fall in 4:23 in the final.
In the championship, Wilkins seemed to be a lion toying with his food, taking an 11-0 lead after the first period en route to the tech. Wilkins, who also won a Lowell title this year, is unbeaten at 19-0.
"The most impressive thing about Sam is that he's [underweight], he weighed 177," Coon said. "Sam is naturally strong, good hips and good balance, so he can take advantage of his technique."
The final champ for the Patriots was Hayden Gaudette at 285 pounds. He pinned both his opponents, including a fall in 1:39 in the final against Dylan Keith from The Gilbert School. Only a sophomore, Gaudette is 16-4 on the year.
Five other Patriots were second overall, including Alex Brown at 99 pounds, Landon Davis at 120, Kyle Hurley at 132, Stephen Brillon at 152 and Logan Sprague at 182.
Brown lost a pair of matches against Salem-Cambridge's Angie Dill, the second one by fall in the finals.
At 120, another Indians wrestler, Charlie Dill, took on Davis. In the early going, Dill got a takedown, then put Davis in the cradle to finish it off.
At 132, Hurley was tech falled by The Gilbert School's Devin Matthews, 16-1.
At 152, Brillon faced Kyle Matthews and ended up on the wrong end of a 6-2 decision. Before the final, Brillon dealt Fair Haven's Dylan Lee his first loss of the season in the semifinal.
"They have a couple kids that are ranked in the top 5 in Connecticut," Coon said. "Kyle had an elite kid, but I know he's better than that."
Sprague, coming off an injury, faced Springfield's Brandon Bennett at 182 pounds, and the Cosmos' wrestler stunned the crowd with a fall in 1:09 over the MAU senior.
Mount Anthony B wrestler Christian Burdick was second at 126 pounds, getting pinned by St. Johnsbury's Hunter Verge in 3:04.
Verge and Mount Anthony's Wilkins were the outstanding wrestlers of the tournament.
Non-Mount Anthony champions included Colchester's Noah Quigley at 113, St. Johnsbury's Wilder Hudson at 170 and the Hilltoppers' Zebb Winot at 220 pounds. Winot faced Salem-Cambridge freshman Evan Day in the final and came away with a 8-4 win.
"There weren't a lot of full teams, but the kids they did bring made for a really competitive tournament," Coon said.
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