Depth carries Pats to top again
By Dennis Jensen
Herald Staff | February 27,2006
ALBERT J. MARRO / RUTLAND HERALD
Otter Valley's Eric Russell has Essex's Tom Cogsley at a disadvantage during Saturday's state wrestling championships, at Otter Valley Union High School.
BRANDON ó Make that 18 in a row for Mount Anthony.
Mount Anthony sent nine wrestlers into the finals and seven emerged as state champions as the Patriots notched their 18th consecutive state title in the 37th annual Vermont State Wrestling Championships at Otter Valley Union High School Saturday.
The Patriots won going away, racking up 293 points and getting all 14 wrestlers into the top five places.
Otter Valley took second place with 186.5 points and Mount Mansfield was third with 165 points. Rutland finished in seventh place with 65 points, while Mill River was 10th and Fair Haven 17th in the 20-school competition.
Patriots coach Scott Legacy said his kids showed poise and talent at the biggest state wrestling match of the year.
"It just shows the depth that we have," he said. "I think we surprised some people. We graduated six state champions last year and a runner-up."
Legacy said this year's win was just as sweet as all the others.
"Each one feels good," he said. "But each team, every year, comes in with its own uniqueness."
Legacy said that there was no magic formula to the Patriots' long string of state titles.
"We don't have a cookie cutter here" that produces a new championship team each year, he said. Rather, it is a community, team and coaching effort that enables the Patriots to keep winning.
Brandon Bushee (103 pounds), Scott Legacy (112), John Andrews (119), Corey Greene (130), Seth Coulter (140), Mike Becker (145) and Mark Hall (171) all won championships in their weight classes for Mount Anthony.
Otter Valley's wrestlers put on a heck of show for the loud home-team crowd at the gymnasium known as "The House of Noise."
The Otters had three wrestlers in the finals and one, Christian Fjeld, emerged as a state champion.
Fjeld, a senior who wrestles at 275, pulled the upset of the finals when the No. 4 seed defeated top-seeded Ryan Bull of Mount Anthony by a 7-5 score.
Otter coach Kyle Bearor said his team's second-place finish was a clear sign that wrestling is back at Otter Valley.
"It's really important for the program," he said. "We filled the stands with people. People who hadn't seen wrestling before are coming here now. It's just going to make people more aware of just how much effort goes into this and how hard these guys work."
The Otters will send four wrestlers to the New Englands.
"The atmosphere here at the House of Noise hasn't been like this for a long time," Bearor said. "I'm just so proud of these kids and of the staff that put this tournament on."
Mount Anthony set the tone for the evening by winning the first three title matches.
Bushee easily handled Jordan Gray of Essex with a 10-0 victory.
Scott Legacy, the coach's son, won all three of his matches by pins and finished up the night with a pin at 3:24 over Mill River's Jonathan Majka.
John Andrews won his second straight state championship for Mount Anthony with a 5-0 win over Rutland's Jeremy Allen.
The Raiders, meanwhile, got two seconds and a third-place win and will send three grapplers to the New Englands.
Colchester's Travis St. Hilaire won his second straight state title, in the 125-pound match, with an 11-4 win over Kevin Fleury of Spaulding.
Corey Greene, the Patriots' nationally ranked wrestler and a defending New England champion, registered his third state title with a technical fall win over Mount Mansfield's Matthew Parisi.
In the 135-pound title match, Middlebury's Ethan Raymond won an easy, 11-2 victory over Mount Mansfield's Ted Randall.
Coulter gave the Patriots another title with his 140-pound win over Matt Costa of St. Johnsbury. Coulter coasted to an 11-1 decision.
Becker pulled out a gutsy, 4-2 win over Otter Valley's Taylor Mason in their 145-pound title match.
Dillon Towne, the lone grappler from U-32, pinned his way through the tournament and finished with a pin at 5:20 over Mount Mansfield's Jevin Corruth at 152 pounds.
Mount Mansfield's Robert Hamlin won the 160-pound title with an 8-2 decision over Spaulding's Brian Bailey.
Mount Anthony's Hall punched his way to the New Englands with a 9-4 win at 171 pounds over Mount Mansfield's Christopher Hamlin.
Sam Palmer gave the Otters their second individual state title. The 189-pound wrestler, the No. 2 seed, easily handled top-seeded Matthew Morin of Mount Mansfield by a 10-2 decision.
Middlebury's Steve Whitney and Rutland's Jake Kirk-Elkin wrestled to a 3-3 tie after regulation in their 215-pound title match. Whitney pulled out the victory in overtime after the Rutland grappler was called for stalling.
Coach Legacy said that he is well aware that, every year, somebody is gunning for Mount Anthony.
"There's a lot of pressure, a lot of expectations on them," he said of his wrestlers. "But we went through this season and the kids handled it well. I'm a lucky man."
In all, 141 wrestlers competed in the tournament.
The teams, and how they finished:
1, Mount Anthony 293 points; 2, Otter Valley 186.5; 3, Mount Mansfield 165; 4, Middlebury 96; 5, Spaulding 90; 6, Essex 74; 7, Rutland 65; 8, St. Johsbury 63.5; 9, Randolph 57; 10, Mill River 56; 11, Champlain Valley 55; 12, Colchester 51; 13, Harwood 34.5; 14, Milton 34.5; 15, Mount Abraham 33; 16, U-32 30; 17, Fair Haven 24; 18, North County 12; 19, Vergennes 9; 20, Enosburg 6.
Contact Dennis Jensen at email@example.com