Foxcroft comes from behind to win fourth straight regional title
ELLSWORTH — The Foxcroft Academy wrestling team came into the Class B North championship Feb. 9 at Ellsworth High School looking to defend the squad’s title for the fourth year in a row. The Ponies knew it was not going to be easy, but quickly realized how hard it was going to be.
After three rounds Foxcroft trailed Dexter Regional High School by 41 points, 130.5 to 89.5. The Ponies knew it was going to take every wrestler to step up to pull a team victory. “Things did not look good early on. We found ourselves in a deep hole, but no one panicked. Everyone just continued to give their all,” head coach Luis Ayala explained.
In the next round Foxcroft begin to rally. In the consolation semifinals the Ponies had 10 wrestlers compared to Dexter’s three. At the end of this round Foxcroft came out with a 1-point lead. The Ponies had eight wrestlers win and advance to the consolation finals to Dexter’s one. “This was a huge round for us, it just showed how determined we were to win,” Ayala said.
Going to the finals Foxcroft had a 21-point lead. Dexter still had a chance to pull the victory with seven wrestlers in the finals compared to the Ponies’ three. Dexter senior Caleb Weeks, at 132 pounds, started the comeback for the Tigers as he pinned his opponent from Mattanawcook. Also winning was junior Gage Stone at 152 pounds, as he pinned his Bucksport opponent to cut Foxcroft’s lead to nine points.
Dexter was not successful to win matches at 138 and 145 pounds and Foxcroft dropped its first finals match in the 120-pound division. At 160 pounds it came down to the Ponies’ Dustin Simmons vs Dexter’s Isaiah Hesseltine. This was a match of familiarity, as both seniors have seen each many times in their careers. The two wrestlers, knowing each others’ strengths, stayed away from one another in the early period, but Simmons was able to get a takedown to lead the match 2-0 in the first period.
Simmons continued the pressure and was able to add to the lead and get some back points to now lead 5-0 to end the second period. It all came down to the third for these two wrestlers and they gave their all. With less than a minute to go Simmons attacked and was able to get a single leg. Hesseltine tried to fight it, but Simmons was too strong and was able to catch him into a cradle to put him on his back for the pin. “Dustin again stepped up for us, like he has all year. His win in the finals sealed the victory for us,” Ayala said.
Dexter still had two wrestlers left in the finals, but with Simmons’ win the lead now was 15 points and the most Dexter could score was 12. Both Dexter’s wrestlers at 170 and 220 pounds lost, but Foxcroft received one more victory at 195 pounds. Sophomore Lucas Ames won an exciting match by pinning his John Bapst opponent and giving his team and the Foxcroft fans an exclamation point to their amazing comeback.
“It was a very emotional day with a lot of ups and downs. But I am so proud of how we held our composure even when things looked dim. We just never gave up.” Ayala said.
Dexter had two individual winners in Caleb Weeks at 132 pounds and Gage Stone at 152, while five Tigers finished second in their weight classes: Justin Wing (138), Nathan Schobel (145), Isaiah Hesseltine (160), Gus Irwin (170), and Eric Bennett (220).
Trent Scott added a fourth-place finish for Dexter at 182 pounds.
Zac Wilson (170 pounds) and Jacob Nadeau (145) scored individual victories to help Piscataquis to its fourth-place finish. The Pirates’ Ethan Moulton added a second-place finish at 126 pounds.
The Class B state meet is set for next Saturday at Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln.
Class B North
1. Foxcroft 169.5 2. Dexter 148.5 3. Mattanawcook 103 4. Piscataquis 100 5. Bucksport 96.5 6. Belfast 95 7. Ellsworth 71 8. John Bapst 42 9. Fort Kent 41.5 10. Washington 27 11. Penobscot 25 12. Calais 23 13. Bangor Christian 22 14. Caribou 19 15. Mount Desert Island 14 16. Lee 5
106: Deegan Tidswell, Mattanawcook pinned Alex Burbank, Bucksport, 1:27; 113: Jackson Sutherland, Mattanawcook pinned Kaleb Nightingale, Bucksport, :42; 120: Landon St. Peter, John Bapst pinned Rico Ayala, Foxcroft, 5:15; 126: Oakley Dugans, Bangor Christian pinned Ethan Moulton, Piscatquis, 4:58; 132: Caleb Weeks, Dexter pinned Travis Mushero, Mattanawcook, 1:52; 138: Logan Lord, Ellsworth major dec. Justin Wing, Dexter, 12-2; 145: Jacob Nadeau, Piscatquis dec. Nathan Schobel, Dexter, 10-3;152: Gage Stone, Dexter pinned Richard Perkins, Bucksport, 3:13;160: Dustin Simmons, Foxcroft pinned Isaiah Hessiltine, Dexter, 5:32;170: Zac Wilson, Piscatquis major dec.. Gus Irwin, Dexter, 10-2; 182: Josiah Brown, Washington pinned Jason Norwood, Belfast, 2:33;195: Lucas Ames, Foxcroft pinned Jared Smith, John Bapst, 3:50;220: Cameron Watts, Belfast dec. Eric Bennett, Dexter, 7-4; 285: David Gross, Bucksport major dec.. Joe Tuulima, Penobscot Valley, 14-3
106: Jaren Hartt, Fort Kent Community dec. Sawyer McCarty, Foxcroft, 2-0; 113: Mitchell Gower, Calais pinned Austin Jackson, Foxcroft, 5:09; 120: Matt Reid, Ellsworth pinned Henry Rowell, Piscatquis, :41; 126: Grady Reardon, Foxcroft major dec.. Clyde Carr, Mattanawcook, 9-1; 132: Fischer Cobb, Piscatquis dec. Kaleb Toby, Lee, 8-5; 138: Jonah Lovejoy, Belfast dec. Josh Tatlock, Foxcroft, 15-8; 145: Jacob Ireland, Foxcroft dec. Angel Riopelle, Caribou, 8-2; 152: AJ Atkinson, Foxcroft pinned Reece Pelletier, Fort Kent, 4:09; 160: Elijah Charbonnier, Belfast dec. Noah Hughes, Ellsworth, 12-10; 170: Sam Robinson, Foxcroft dec. Nathaniel Porter, Belfast, 4-3; 182: Charlie Hughes, Ellsworth pinned Trent Scott, Dexter, :28; 195: Brian White, Belfast dec. Alex Munson, Mattanawcook, 7-0; 220: Dakota Page, Mattanawcook pinned Jacob Coghill, Bucksport, 1:28; 285: Jared Atkinson, Foxcroft Dflt Sam Hoff, MDI