Foxcroft finishes second at Class B wrestling championship

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WELLS — Foxcroft Academy traveled Saturday, Feb. 17 to Wells High School to dethrone the defending Class B champion Wells High School Warriors.

Foxcroft brought 11 wrestlers to the state tournament after winning the Class B North championship the week before in Thorndike. Wells brought 13 wrestlers after winning the south regional final for the battle of the two best teams in Maine’s smaller school wrestling division.

The Ponies took an early lead when eight of the team’s 11 wrestlers won in the first round compared to Wells only having six of its 13 wrestlers winning in this round. Foxcroft had an early 28-2 lead.

“We came out all fired up in the first round,” Foxcroft head coach Luis Ayala said. “We worked hard this past week for this moment.”

Wells’ strength all year has been in the upper weight classes, and it was no exception at the state meet, as the Warriors sent its 182-, 195-, 220- and 285-pound grapplers plus the 113-pound competitor into the finals. While Wells sent five wrestlers Foxcroft had three in the finals — the 132-pound entrant RJ Nelson; 160, Dustin Simmons, and 170, Elijah Ames. Wells took a commanding 26-point lead with three rounds to go.

In the consolation semifinals Foxcroft cut that lead as the Ponies had four wrestlers win to Wells’ two victories. One big upset victory in this round was when Rico Ayala, at 113 pounds, defeated Jack Tibbetts of Lisbon High School 3-2.

“That was a huge win for him,” Luis Ayala said about his son. “He lost to him early in the season and to beat him at this event just tells you how hard he has been working this season.” Foxcroft had cut the Wells lead to only 10 points going into the consolation finals and championships finals.

But this was as close as Foxcroft would get as Wells had a pair of individual champions to one state winner for the Ponies. That one Foxcroft champion was Nelson. He beat Dexter Regional High School’s Gage Stone 6-1.

They have wrestled each other many times this season, and Nelson — a senior — has previously twice been a state runner-up.

“He has been searching for this title for a long time,” Ayala said. “He has given everything for this moment going to camps, hitting the weight room, wrestling in the summer. I am so happy for him! He has been a true team leader all year.”

Wells ended up repeating as state champions (winning the crown for the fourth time in school history) as the Warriors scored 121 points to Foxcroft’s 105.5. Following in third place was Mount View High School of Thorndike at 73 points and tied for fourth place was Dexter and Medomak Valley High School of Waldoboro with 72.5 points apiece.

“We gave our best shot,” Ayala said. “We leave with our heads held high. This team has just surpassed all my expectations. They have worked so hard to be conference champions, regional champions and state runner-up.”

2018 CLASS B
1. Wells 121 2. Foxcroft
105.5 3. Mount View 73
T-4. Dexter and Medomak
Valley 72.5 6. Mountain
Valley 52 7. Dirigo 45.5
8. Ellsworth 45 9. Penobscot
38 10. Bucksport 36 11.
Mattanawcook 35 T-12.
Madison and MCI 34
14. Lisbon 24.5 15.
Winslow 24 16. PCHS 22
17. Oceanside 17 18.
Caribou 14.5 T-19.
Belfast and Calais 14
21. Lincoln 11 T-22
Fort Kent and Hermon 8
24. Monmouth 3

120: Weeks (Dexter)
16-14 over Ashmore
132: Nelson (Foxcroft)
6-4 over Stone (Dexter)
160: Beem (Dexter)
6-4 over Simmons
170: Wilson (PCHS)
12-7 over Ames (Foxcroft)

Consolation finals
106: Deroche (Mountain
Valley) 16-0 over Jackson
113: Baker (MCI) 7-0
over Ayala (Foxcroft)
120: James (Calais) pin
1:18 vs. Weston (Foxcroft)
126: Roy (Mountain Valley)
pin 3:47 over Wing (Dexter)
145: Diamond (Foxcroft)
17-2 over Pelletier (Dirigo)

Photo courtesy of Angela Ayala
CLASS B RUNNERS-UP — The Foxcroft Academy wrestling team finished as runner-up at the 2018 Class B championship on Feb. 17 at Wells High School. The Ponies ended the day with a score of 105.5 points, trailing only the 121 for the host school which earned the state crown for the second year in a row. RJ Nelson won the 132-pound state title for Foxcroft and teammates Dustin Simmons and Elijah Ames reached the 160- and 170-pound championship finals.

Photo courtesy of Angela Ayala
132-POUND STATE CHAMP — Foxcroft Academy’s RJ Nelson grappled with Gage Stone of Dexter Regional High School in the 132-pound finals at the 2018 Class B championship on Saturday at Wells High School. Nelson edged Stone by a score of 6-4 to claim the weight class crown.

Photo courtesy of Angela Ayala
SECOND BEST AT 160 POUNDS — Foxcroft Academy’s Dustin Simmons came in second at 160 pounds at the Class B championship Feb. 18 in Wells, falling 6-4 in the finals to Tyler Beem of Dexter. Simmons is pictured with the Foxcroft coaching staff, from left, head coach Luis Ayala and coaches Isaac Whittemore, Terry Whittemore and Ryan Reardon

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