BENNINGTON — The Vergennes Union High School wrestling team saw senior 160-pound wrestler Kaegan Pearsall win the state championship as the Commodores took fifth at this past weekend’s state championship meet.
The Commodores scored 102 points and were the top team that normally competes in Division II in the standings; Vermont wrestling does not recognize divisions.
Middlebury, paced by second-place efforts by senior Jake Trautwein at 182 and junior Chris Gobbi at 220, finished seventh with 91 points.
Otter Valley, led by freshman Tyson Cram’s fourth-place effort at 120, took 11th in the 22-team field with 50.5 points. Mount Abraham freshman Dylan Little finished sixth at 145 to score all the Eagles’ points; the Eagles were 21st with 3 points.
In other news, the sun rises in the east and Mount Anthony scored 336.5 points to win its 26th straight Vermont championship. Seven of the 14 MAU wrestlers won championships and all of them made the podium. Heavyweight Jesse Webb won his fourth state championship and improved his record to 227-9 to highlight the Patriots’ day.
The Bellows Falls-Hartford collective took second with 155.5 points, followed by Mount Mansfield (133.5), St. Johnsbury (109.0), VUHS (102), Mill River (98.5) and MUHS (91).
Rounding out the field were: 8. Rutland, 69.0; 9. Champlain Valley, 68.0; 10. Essex, 56.0; 11. OV, 50.5; 12. BFA-St. Albans, 29.0; 13. Fair Haven, 27.0; 14. Burr and Burton, 26.0; 15. Milton, 18.0; 15. Spaulding, 18.0; 17. North Country, 16.0; 18. Randolph, 6.0; 19. Colchester, 4.0; 20. Harwood, 3.5; 21. Mount Abe, 3.0; and 22. Enosburg, 0.0.
Pearsall, the runner-up a year ago, dominated Jacob Woodside of Mount Anthony in his 160-pound final, 10-1.
Coach Nate Kittredge said his team’s only senior kicked it up a notch for the state tournament.
“As soon as he stepped on the mat Friday afternoon all he did was go forward, forward, forward,” Kittredge said. “He was on a mission.”
Joining Pearsall on the podium from VUHS were a number of younger wrestlers:
• Freshman Kyle Kingsley, fourth at 106.
• Sophomore Ethan Reardon, fourth at 113.
• Freshman Trevon Smith, fourth at 126.
• Freshman Brandon Cousino, fifth at 152.
• Sophomore Ryan Paquin, fifth at 182.
Also competing for the Commodores were sophomore Jeb Hodsden at 138 and freshman Troy Provencher at 132.
Kittredge said he was pleased with the team’s strong results.
“We did really well. We beat a lot of teams that beat us throughout the year,” he said.
Key for the Commodores in the tightly bunched standings were the points they scored from putting opponents on their backs.
“It came down to pins,” Kittredge said.
For the Tigers, Trautwein rallied from down, 7-2, entering the third period to come up just short against undefeated Patriot Tyler Mattison, an opponent who had earned a technical fall against him earlier this winter.
Trautwein finished the season with more than 50 wins, earned his 100th win over the course of this winter, and set the school’s single-season record for pins with 34, breaking Steve Whitney’s mark of 32.
Gobbi lost his final, 10-4, to another Patriot, Jack Luciano.
Also placing for the Tigers were:
• Sophomore Nate Gebo, third at 106.
• Sophomore Kyle Desabrais, who surged late in the season and took fifth at 120.
• Sophomore James Whitley, sixth at 132.
• Senior James Mason, sixth at 152.
Also winning one match apiece for the Tigers were sophomore Alex Sheldrick at 126 and senior Benn Lussier at 285. Sophomore Nick Beauchamp competed for MUHS at 170.
Coach Ethan Raymond was happy six of his nine competitors reached the podium, and that the team scored more points than in 2013, even though the team dropped a place in the standings.
“I was very happy with our performance this past weekend,” he said.
More importantly, Raymond said, the Tigers got better this winter, with a stronger dual-meet record and more pins and takedowns in the course of the season.
“Like I told my guys, I look for improvements, and definitely we made improvements,” he said. “You could see it from everyone all year.”
For Otter Valley, in addition to Cram’s fourth place, wrestlers earning top-six finishes were:
• Junior Eric Manning, sixth at 113.
• Freshman Neiko Desabrais, sixth at 120.
• Sophomore Nate Doty, sixth at 195.
• Junior Adam Sherwin, fifth at 220.
Also competing for OV were senior Joe Palmer, who won a match at 132, and sophomore Jared Felkl, who went 0-2 in the tough 132-pound class.
OV Coach Steve Mitchell said his goal this year has mainly been to build the program, and he was happy to see a handful of his young wrestlers standing on podiums. He noted two of them, Doty and Manning, placed despite not being seeded, while Sherwin finished higher than his seed.
“You would always like to see them do better. But I think the kids did well,” he said.
Mitchell said the Otters learned from the experience.
“They know they missed some opportunities. And next year they won’t miss the chances,” he said.
Most importantly, Mitchell said the rebuilding goal was met.
“Every one of the kids got better, right down the line,” he said.
Also wrestling for Mount Abe were three juniors, Josh Roy at 126, Josh Russin at 132, and Shane Bowen at 195. None prevailed in a match despite solid efforts, according to Coach Pete Lossman.
“We wrestled hard, but came up short,” Lossman said.
106 pounds: Daniel Bliss, MMU, defeated Calvin Call, MAU (OT); 3. Nate Gebo, MUHS; 4. Kyle Kingsley, VUHS.
113: Tyler Raetz, MAU, defeated Austin Viens, BF/H; 4. Ethan Reardon, VUHS; 6. Eric Manning, OV.
120: Troy Gassaway, MAU, defeated Ben Bliss, MMU; 4. Tyson Cram, OV; 5. Kyle Desabrais, MUHS.
126:Bryce Bernadine, MMU, defeated Tabor Watson, MAU; 4. Trevon Smith, VUHS; 6. Neiko Desabrais, OV.
132: Dylan LaFountain, MAU, tech. fall James Degesse, SJA; 6. James Whitley, MUHS.
138: Zach Allen, Mill River, defeated John Stawinski, Essex.
145: Nolan Viens, BF/H, defeated Darren Ruiz-Sauer, MAU; 6. Dylan Little, Mount Abe.
152: Dylan Shattuck, SJA defeated Noble Shaler, MAU; 5. Brandon Cousino, VUHS; 6. James Mason, MUHS.
160:Kaegan Pearsall, VUHS, defeated Jacob Woodside, MAU.
170: Grant Poston, CVU, defeated Damon Young, MAU.
182: Austin Price, MAU, defeated Jakob Trautwein, MUHS; 5. Ryan Paquin, VUHS.
195:Tyler Mattison, MAU, pinned Kienan Kittredge, CVU; 6. Nate Doty, OV.
220:Jack Luciano, MAU defeated Chris Gobbi, MUHS; 5. Adam Sherwin, OV.
285: Jesse Webb, MAU pinned Dalton Hallock, MMU.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at email@example.com.