Wilkins, Coon set for Journeymen high school exhibitions

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TROY, N.Y. — With the 2019-20 wrestling season just a few weeks away, a pair of Mount Anthony wrestlers will get some tough competition this weekend.

Keegan Coon and Sam Wilkins are set to compete in Journeymen Wrestling's high school all-star exhibition matchups today, as part of the annual Northeast Duals at Hudson Valley Community College.

Coon, a two-time New England tournament placer, competes in his first match at 11:45 a.m., where he'll take on Joseph Zargo, a FloWrestling ranked wrestler.

Wilkins, a National High School Coaches Association All-American last winter, wrestles New York's Matt Kelly, who is also a NHSCA All-American. Their match is set for 1:45 p.m.

Coon will wrestle his second match of the day at 3:45 p.m. against New York's Willie McDougald, who is a former state champion.

"You always want to measure yourself against those best guys," said Mount Anthony wrestling coach Brian Coon. "You get the chance to wrestle a New York state champion or a New Jersey place finisher and guys you may see at nationals, not necessarily in an every weekend tournament."

Wilkins and Keegan Coon, both seniors, will lead a loaded MAU team this winter and competing against some of the best talent in the country only prepares them more for that role.

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"Seeing how well they do is another confidence-booster," Brian Coon said. "The pressure isn't going to be new to them because they've done it so many times. This, being their senior year, is their opportunity to show their progression and that they're ready to take the step to that next level."

The Northeast Duals bring out some of the top of collegiate teams across Division I, Division II and Division III.

Some of the top teams to compete include: No. 4 Arizona State, No. 20 Virginia, No. 23 Purdue, Buffalo and Long Island.

With so many high-level programs in attendance, the high school exhibitions can act as a recruiting tool for the schools and the athletes.

"It's a perfect time to showcase when there's like 20 college coaches wrestling right next to you," Brian Coon said. "That has got to be pretty amazing for them to wrestle right in front of schools that they may be thinking of going to or aspiring to go to. Teams that maybe aren't taking a look at them will take a look. It's a perfect time to show off what they've accomplished over the summer."

Winter sports in Vermont start on Monday, December 2, except hockey which begins practices on November 20.

MAU opens up its season on Saturday, December 14 against Shenendehowa at Washington Avenue Armory. The Patriots' home opener is set for Wednesday, December 18 against Otter Valley. The state championship meet is February 28-29, where MAU aims to lock up a 32nd state championship in a row.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at aaucoin@benningtonbanner.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.


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