Foxcroft wrestling claims third straight Class C title

By Bill Pearson
Staff Writer

    DOVER-FOXCROFT — When the Foxcroft Academy wrestling team won their second consecutive state championship last year, they instantly focused their attention on doing what no other team in school history had ever accomplished: winning three straight state titles. Foxcroft completed their mission on Feb. 16 by winning the Class C State Championship during a meet held in the Foxcroft Academy gymnasium.


Observer photo/Bill Pearson

    MAT MANIA — Dexter’s Malcolm Mitchell tries to pin Piscataquis’ T.J. Thomas during the Class C State Wrestling Championships held in Dover-Foxcroft on Feb. 16. Mitchell won the matchup in the 195-pound division. Mitchell won his match on his way to a third-place finish. Thomas finished seventh and the weight class was won by Foxcroft Academy’s Corey Bjornson.

    It seemed the three-time champs simply had too much horsepower in galloping over their Class C competition. Pony wrestlers claimed five individual titles, had two state runners-up and 11 members placed in the top four of the 14 weight classes.

    Foxcroft scored 198.5 points in defeating runner-up Dirigo, of Dixfield with 138.5 and third-place Dexter with 123. Foxcroft coach Luis Ayala believed his team’s on-going success is due to their continued determination and drive to be the best.

    “It was an intense and exciting day,” Ayala said. “There were a lot of upsets, but in the end it turned out like we expected with our hard work and dedication paying off with another championship. I’m so proud of these guys who have overcome some adverse conditions to win for the third year in a row.”


Observer photo/Bill Pearson

    REVERSAL OF FORTUNE — Foxcroft Academy’s Forrest Law avenged a defeat in the Penobscot Valley Conference Championships to George Stevens Academy wrestler Jason Lord to win the 138-pound weight class in the Class C Wrestling Championship held on Feb.16. Law was one of five Pony wrestlers to claim individual titles as the Ponies captured their third consecutive team title.

    Foxcroft wrestler Wesley Stinson probably overcame the most adversity in winning his third consecutive individual championship.

    Stinson had briefly left the team during the season for personal reasons. He returned during the regional qualifying tournament two weeks ago and was greeted with a smattering of boos from the crowd.

    When he faced off against Fort Kent’s Jeremy Voisine in the 152-pound state final, it seemed everything was going against him. The crowd was rooting for his opponent, he was behind 6-3 on the scoreboard with 63 seconds remaining and the opponent he defeated two weeks earlier had seemingly learned from his past mistakes.

    But Stinson rallied to score the final five points of the match by using the coaching and techniques he’s learned during his tenure in the Foxcroft wrestling program.

    “Our team has a saying in practice ‘Impose your will.’ This is exactly what I did when I was behind,” Stinson said. “I had to control the outcome and put everything I had in it. So many matches are won in the final seconds and that is what I was concentrating on.”

    Ayala believed Stinson’s come-from-behind effort was typical of the three-time state champion. Ayala credited Stinson for having the confidence that all great champions seem to possess during difficult times. He also believed the crowd didn’t understand the circumstances Stinson faced during the season.

    “People don’t understand what happened. The only ones that know are our team members,” Ayala said. “They can say what they want, but it really doesn’t affect our team.”

    Three Pony wrestlers won individual championships for the second consecutive year: Brooks Law (126), Forrest Law (138) and Corey Bjornson (195). Sophomore Brooks Law also won his 150th career victory in the championship match.


Observer photo/Bill Pearson

    BEAR HUG — Foxcroft Academy’s Corey Bjornson puts a big bear hug on Dirigo’s Luke McDonald during the Class C State Wrestling Championships held on Feb.16 in Dover-Foxcroft. Bjornson won his second consecutive state championship and the Ponies won their third straight team championship.

     Freshman Tino Ayala won his first state championship in the 113-pound class. The younger Ayala took a 7-0 lead in the championship match before seizing an opportunity to pin his opponent. Ayala used the double grapevine move to secure his first individual championship.

    He credited his family, coaching staff and his God for guiding him to his victory.

    “With the help of all of these people is what made this happen today,” Tino Ayala said. “I was leading in the match, but the opportunity to pin him occurred so I took it.”

    The Dexter wrestling team also claimed some glory with Tyler Salsbury winning the 120-pound class and Dylan Hanscom (106) and Zach Caron (126) finishing as runners-up. This was the third year in a row that Salsbury made the championship round. His 148th career victory proved to the best of his career in securing a state title.

    After Salsbury defeated Bucksport’s Matt Stewart, he ran and leaped into his coach, Brian Salsbury’s arms. The coach is also his father.    

    “It felt good,” Tyler Salsbury said. “After all the hard work over the past four years to win state championship, it was definitely worth it.”

    Piscataquis Community High School finished in 18th place with eight points.

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.