Foxcroft claims PVC wreslting champions for second straight year

Dexter Regional earns second place, Piscataquis Community finishes in 14th place

By Bill Pearson

Staff Writer

    BUCKSPORT — It seemed it was like déjà vu on Jan. 26, for the Foxcroft Academy and Dexter Regional High School wrestling teams. Both squads emerged as the top two squads in last year’s Penobscot Valley Championship with Foxcroft winning by one-point. And this year’s competition was nearly as close with the result hinging on a pivotal match in the 182-pound division final between Foxcroft’s Corbyn Bruce and Dexter’s Carl Snow.


Observer photo/Bill Pearson

    HAIL THE VICTORS! — The Foxcroft Academy wrestling team celebrates their second consecutive Penobscot Valley Conference championship on Jan. 26 with a 216-198.5 victory over Dexter. The Ponies had four wrestlers win individual titles and four others reached the finals.

    Bruce earned a 4-3 decision to help his team earn the second straight PVC championship with  a 216-198.5 victory over Dexter. Bruce has defeated Snow in a decision each time this season. He knew their latest bout would be as challenging as the previous ones.

    “Carl is such a great opponent. I knew it would another tough battle out there,” Bruce said. “He is so tough to take down. I just need to give my thanks to God for the strength to win another tough match.”


Observer photo/Bill Pearson

    SECOND, AGAIN — The Dexter Tigers finished in second place on Jan. 26 during the Penobscot Valley Conference championship in Bucksport. The Tigers outscored 16 other teams in the 18-team field against Class B and C competition, but lost to Foxcroft Academy for the second straight season. Dexter had four wreslters win individuals championships and two finished as runners-up.

    Bruce was one of four Ponies to claim individual championships. He was joined by Antonio

Ayala (113), Brooks Law (126) and Todd Francis (160). Dexter also had four wrestlers who earned individual titles: Dylan Hanscom (106), Tyler Salsbury (120), Andrew Levensalor (145) and Andrew Adams (152).

    But Foxcroft had more overall team depth which contributed to the overall team championship. The Ponies placed four additional wrestlers into the individual finals while Dexter only had two. Foxcroft’s Eli Olson lost to Hanscom in the 106-pound division final. Defending state champion Forrest Law was upset by George Stevens Academy’s Jordan Lord in the 138-final. Corey Bjornson-Weismore (195) and Caleb Atkinson (285) also lost in the finals.

    Dexter’s finalists were Zach Caron (126) and Snow (182) who both lost to Foxcroft wrestlers.


Observer photo/Bill Pearson

    TRIPLE OVERTIME — George Stevens Academy wrestler Jordan Lord upset defending state champion Forrest Law in the Penobscot Valley Championship 138-pound weight-class with a 11-9 decision in triple overtime. Law was one of eight Pony wrestlers to reach the finals. Foxcroft won the PVC team championship for the second consecutive year.

    For Foxcroft coach Luis Ayala winning the team championship isn’t all about who claims the most individual titles. He believes the team championship is determined by each wrestler giving all they have during a physically grueling part of the season. He used defending state champion Bjornson-Weismore, who has been battling the flu, as an example of why his team is so difficult to beat.

    “He’s definitely not at 100 percent. He’s been battling the flu and to be able to finish second against some tough competition really shows how competitive he is and makes us that much tougher in these team competitions,” Ayala said.

    Foxcroft is hoping strong showings at the PVC and regional championships will enable its wrestlers to earn high seedings at the upcoming state championship. Last year, Foxcroft won their second consecutive state Class C championship by holding off Dexter which placed second in all three post-season tournaments.


Observer photo/Bill Pearson

    DOWN, BUT NOT OUT — Fort Kent wrestler Jeremy Voisine seems to have the upper hand against Dexter’s Andy Adams during the152-pound finals at the Penobscot Valley Conference championship. Adams won the individual championship on Jan. 26 with 6-3 decision, but his team finished as the runner-up to Foxcroft in the team competition held in Bucksport.

    Dexter and Foxcroft have been battling each other for Class C wrestling supremacy for over two decades. Ayala believes the competition between the two schools is fueled by their close proximity to one another.

    “It’s that Dexter and Dover-Foxcroft rivalry. It happens every year,” Ayala said. “It drives us to compete harder because we know exactly how they are doing because we see them from youth wrestling right up through the state championships. I’m sure that the rivalry has driven us to be the best we can be every year.”

    Another narrow loss to Foxcroft hasn’t dampened Dexter coach Brian Salsbury’s spirits about his team’s chances for winning a state championship in two weeks time. He believed his team’s strong showing was evidence that his wrestlers are capable of ending the Ponies’ two-year reign as state champions.


Observer photo/Bill Pearson

    HEAD TO HEAD — The Penobscot Valley Conference wrestling title came down to a head-to-head competition between Foxcroft’s Corbyn Bruce and Dexter’s Carl Snow in the 182-weight class division. Bryce won 4-3 to claim the individual title and clinch the second consecutive PVC team championship for Foxcroft Academy.

    “We really wrestled well here today. We won a couple that I didn’t expect to, but we also lost a couple that we didn’t expect to,” coach Salsbury said. “I’m happy with the way we competed and expect that will continue into the regionals and states.”

    The two Class C Eastern Maine powers topped the field of 18 Class B and C schools who comprise the conference. Rounding out the top five were Ellsworth (114), Caribou (73) and Fort Kent (47). Piscataquis finished in 14th place with 12.5 points. Cameron Pratt (113) was the only Pirate wrestler to place in his weight class. He finished fourth behind Ayala, Caribou’s Tre Caudill and Dexter’s Bryce Sweet.

    Foxcroft, Dexter and Piscatquis will compete in the regional qualifying tournament on Feb. 2 in Howland. The top six wrestlers in each weight class will qualify to compete in the state championships on Feb. 9 at the Augusta Civic Center.

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