Mount Abe wrestles to fourth at Vermont meet

BRANDON — Nobody stopped Mount Anthony Union High School from winning its 30th straight Vermont championship at Otter Valley this past weekend, but a team from another school named after a Vermont peak fared pretty well — Mount Abraham.
Coach Nick Mayer’s Eagles brought seven wrestlers to Brandon and all of them reached the podium as the Eagles placed fourth at the tournament, moving up a position from 2017 and once again finishing as the top program among schools that normally compete at a Division II level.
MAU coasted with 274.5 points, followed by Essex (168). St. Johnsbury (120.5) edged the Eagles (105.5) to take third place among the 21 schools at the event.
Middlebury (33), the host Otters (31) and Vergennes (24) were 13th, 14th and 16th, respectively.
Leading the Eagles was junior Roman Mayer, who finished second at 132 pounds. Mayer won at 120 in 2017, but this time lost to MAU’s Noah Call in the final at the heavier weight, 16-8, after coasting in his first two matches.
Mount Abe senior Benjamin Murray at 126 and junior Kevin Pearsall at 182 each took thirds. Murray, the No. 2 seed at 126, was upset by Essex wrestler Calvin Leo, 3-2, in his semifinal after he had defeated Leo three times this winter. But Murray regrouped to win the consolation final over Eric Godin of Milton, 9-0. Pearsall equaled his seed by blanking Zeb Winot of St. Johnsbury in his consolation final, 8-0.
Earning fourth-place finishes for the Eagles were sophomore Parker Gero at 120, sophomore John Bent at 145, and freshman Nate Lavoie at 152. Lavoie was unseeded, Coach Mayer noted, and knocked off a wrestler to whom he had lost several times this winter to earn his podium placement.
“(He) finished off his season with flying colors, taking fourth place in a tough weigh class as an unseeded wrestler,” Mayer said.
The final Eagle competitor was junior Gary Conant, who finished fifth at 138.
The high point for the host Otters was the performance of junior Josh Beayon, who wrestled to his seed by finishing third at 170 pounds after two close matches. After an easy opening win, Beayon lost a tough bout to No. 2 seed Colby Giroux of Mount Mansfield, 3-0. Beayon came back to edge Mount Anthony’s Stephen Brillon in the consolation final, 3-1.
OV Coach Cole Mason said Beayon “showed a lot of guts” after the semifinal loss.  
“Josh Beayon lost a heartbreaker in the semis but battled back to finish third,” Mason said.
By virtue of his top-three finish Beayon will join Mayer, Murray and Pearsall this weekend in Providence, R.I., for the New England Championship Meet.
OV freshman David Williams finished sixth at 120. He won his opening match handily, but then was forced to default his remaining matches.
Tiger senior Dustin Davio’s fourth-place finish at 132 topped the Middlebury results. Davio had been seeded third, but lost in the consolation final after falling to Mayer in the semifinal round. Senior Joe Whitley compiled a 3-3 record in the stacked 160-pound class to finish fifth there, and Tiger freshman Michael Whitley was fifth at 106 without winning a match.
Freshmen Aidan Gebo and Jeremiah Moulton recorded the only podium finishes for Vergennes, earning fifths at 113 and 120, respectively.
Also competing for the local teams this past weekend were:
•  At 138 MUHS junior Justin Jackson, compiling a 1-2 mark.
•  At 145 VUHS junior Sarah Rathbun (0-2).
•  At 152 VUHS freshman Barret Barrows (1-2).
•  At 160 VUHS sophomore Zander Wildasin (0-2).
•  At 182 OV sophomore Gadge Puro (1-2) and VUHS freshman Dominic Kandzior (0-2).
•  At 195 VUHS freshman Gabriel Payne-Vinick (0-2).
•  At 220 OV sophomore Jake Jones (0-2) and VUHS junior Brady Gebo (1-2).
•  At 285 OV sophomore Jared Denis (0-2).

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