Wrestling: Windham/G-NG tops young Bonny Eagle squad

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STANDISH—Windham/Gray-New Gloucester picked up a dual-meet win at Bonny Eagle on Friday night, Jan. 11. The brief contest featured just five wrestler pairings, as weight-class holes dotted both teams’ lineups on the night, resulting in numerous forfeits on either side. Still, the evening provided some quality grappling, with Windham/G-NG taking four of the bouts and the Scots one.

“When we’re healthy, we can fill pretty much 126 to heavyweight,” Windham/G-NG head coach John Nicholas said, asked about the night’s mere five faceoffs. “Having the Gray kids is definitely making a difference. A couple of our lightweights couldn’t make the grade, so we lost two of our smallest kids. We’ve got a couple of injuries right now, which hurt us tonight…We had a couple starters out. But overall, the kids are working hard. They’re sticking with it.”

“You know, we don’t match up with them very well,” Bonny Eagle head coach Josh Lund said. “We’ve got a lot of lightweight classes, and we really struggle in the middleweights; we don’t have any wrestlers there. So we’re giving up a solid amount of forfeits there. And they pieced out perfectly and they had all those weight classes.”

At 132 lbs., Windham/G-NG’s DJ Pelletier picked up points for a takedown and a near-fall in the first period vs. Bonny Eagle’s Chris Rankin, as well as points for a reversal and a near-fall in the second period. Pelletier eventually pinned Rankin for the W.

“I knew the 132 match would be a decent match,” Nicholas said, “because I remember [Rankin] from last year; he qualified for States. So I knew that DJ was going to have a good matchup. But he ended up taking it to him, getting the pin there in the third, which kind of catapulted us in the meet. Really set the tone and got the kids excited.”

At 138, Bonny Eagler Martin Worthington turned a trio of escapes vs. Windham/G-NG’s Pete Petersen, but also earned a warning and a penalty; Petersen, meanwhile, earned a pair of takedowns and an escape against Worthington to emerge victorious by decision. (He did pick up a warning and a caution, however.)

At 145, Windham/G-NG’s Owen McDuffie grabbed two points for a takedown vs. Scot Dustin Brewer en route to another win-by-pin for the visitors.

“We knew, looking at the lineups, that the four matches in the middle were going to decide the meet,” Nicholas said. “So we knew we had to at least split and we had to get a couple of pins on top of that. And all four guys came out and won their matches. We got three pins out of the four, which pretty much sealed the meet.”

“It’s his second year wrestling,” Lund said of Brewer. “We’ve been trying to build confidence in him…He ended up getting pinned and losing – but he almost got the takedown. We’ve been trying to get him to shoot, to work various setups, and he came out right off the whistle and almost took [McDuffie] down.”

At 152, Bonny Eagle’s Martin Doucette built a lead in the first period over Windham/G-NG’s Kyle Walker, hashing points for a takedown, a near-fall and a reversal. Walker, meanwhile, nabbed just one reversal. In the second period, Walker woke up in a big way, swamping Doucette’s pair of escapes with two takedowns and two near-falls. (He also picked up a warning.) Walker then added a pair of reversals in the third period to Doucette’s one reversal. All the tallying would come to naught, though, as Walker won by fall with 42.4 seconds left.

“It didn’t go well,” Lund said of the meet overall, “but we’re making steps in the right direction…It didn’t go our way in terms of the wins or losses, but I see our guys working on the stuff we’re chirping at them to work on. We’re trying to give them a set of tools to work with and make their own, and we’re looking for them to use those tools out there, and I saw that today.”

Bonny Eagle’s lone W of the evening came at 220 from Tristan Day – who, strictly speaking, is a Sacopee Valley student. Day simply wrestles alongside the Scots, since Sacopee Valley doesn’t field its own team. Day notched a takedown in the first vs. Windham/G-NG’s Garrett Allen, and an escape and a takedown in the second, but eventually won by fall.

“We’ve been working the move that [Day] pinned his kid with,” Lund said. “That’s his go-to move, but he’s had a hard time hitting it in matches.”

In the end, and factoring in all the evening’s forfeits, Windham/G-NG won the meet 51-24.

It’s worth noting that many of the boys who hit the mat that evening are underclassmen: On Bonny Eagle’s side, Worthington and Doucette are just freshmen, while Rankin and Brewer are sophomores. (Day is a junior.) For Windham/G-NG, Petersen and McDuffie are freshman, Allen a junior and Walker and Pelletier seniors.

“It’s tough for us in dual meets,” Lund said, “because we are forfeiting a lot of weight classes week-in and week-out. Our numbers are down; we’re working on getting them up. And we’ve got a young team and we’re trying to keep working and keep plugging away. And hopefully the future is bright.”

“It’s a good confidence builder, heading into tomorrow,” Nicholas said of the victory. Windham/G-NG ventured up to Skowhegan for a 20-team tournament the following day.

Adam Birt can be reached at abirt@keepmecurrent.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.

Windham/G-NG’s Garrett Allen tries to free himself of Bonny Eagle/Sacopee Valley’s Tristan Day.

Bonny Eagler Martin Doucette battles to escape from beneath Windham/G-NG’s Kyle Walker.

Windham/G-NG’s Kyle Walker contemplates his next move.

Owen McDuffie weighs his Bonny Eagle opponent, Dustin Brewer, to the mat.

Bonny Eagle’s Dustin Brewer uncoils from his Windham/G-NG matchup.

Bonny Eagler Martin Worthington struggles to shuck his Windham/G-NG opponent.

Pete Petersen circles his Bonny Eagle opponent.

Windham/G-NG’s DJ Pelletier and BE’s Chris Rankin clash.

Tristan Day, of Bonny Eagle/Sacopee Valley, applies pressure to his Windham/G-NG enemy.

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