Wrestlers come to MUHS for revamped tournament

EAGLE DEVAN HEMINGWAY nearly pins his Essex 126-pound opponent with this move at MUHS on Dec. 29, but ended up losing a high-scoring decision. Hemingway went 2-2 on the day. Independent photo/Steve James

MIDDLEBURY — A Hubie Wagner Invitational annual wrestling tournament revamped to account for COVID-19 saw 10 teams compete in a series of dual meets in two shifts — one in the morning of Dec. 29 and the second that afternoon at Middlebury Union High School.

The cooperative Fair Haven-Rutland team fared best in the morning with a 3-0 record, followed by Colchester (2-1), Otter Valley (1-2) and Harwood/Champlain Valley (0-3).

Essex (4-0) dominated the afternoon action, followed by Granville, N.Y. (3-1), Springfield (2-2), the host Tigers (1-3), and St. Johnsbury (0-4).

MOUNT ABE’S WYATT Allenson and Tiger Liam Wagner battle early in their 195-pound match at MUHS on Dec. 29. Allenson eventually prevailed with a pin.
Independent photo/Steve James

The 10th team was Mount Abraham, which lacked numbers to compete as a unit and contributed three wrestlers to MUHS and two to Springfield.

Vergennes had planned to attend, but withdrew because the team couldn’t test enough wrestlers in a timely manner over the holidays to prove they were COVID-free, according to VUHS Activities Director Peter Maneen

Only one local wrestler compiled a winning record against the tough competition in contested matches, according to scoresheets provided by tournament organizers.

EAGLE MATT CONANT takes control of his 138-pound match vs. Tiger Layne Chant on the way to a win by pin at MUHS on Dec. 29. Conant, a senior, went 1-1 on the day, losing a close decision in his other match.
Independent photo/Steve James

That was Tiger freshman Alex Sperry, who went 4-0 with three pins at 113 pounds. His most dramatic victory came against William Einhorn of Essex. Einhorn entered the second period with a 5-0 lead and started on top, but Sperry reversed him mid-period and then pinned him.

Tiger Milo Gordon at 145 was one of several wrestlers who had a boom-or-bust day, winning twice by pin and losing twice by pin to go 2-2. Liam Wagner at 195 and Berkley McDermott at 285 both went 1-3, but won with pins. Avery Carl lost his only match by decision against Essex, but won three forfeits at 132.

Mount Abe’s Lucas Phillips wrestled for the Tigers at 160 and went 2-2 and pinned two opponents, as did Eagle Devan Hemingway at 126. Logan Pierro had less luck for MUHS at 120, picking up four setbacks.

MOUNT ABE 160-POUND wrestler Lucas Phillips (right) goes for the takedown vs. a Springfield opponent on Dec. 29 at MUHS. Phillips won by pin and went 2-2 on the day.
Independent photo/Steve James

Eagles Matt Conant and Wyatt Allenson grappled for Springfield. Both split two matches, Conant in hard-fought, close decisions, and Allenson by pins in each bout.

Six Otters wrestled in the morning, and four compiled 1-1 marks.

At 145, Caleb Whitney lost by pin and battled to a 3-2 victory; at 160, Tucker Babcock pinned one foe and lost a competitive decision; and Isaac Whitney (182) and Derek Li (285) each won once and lost once by pin. Li’s pin came in the final bout against Harwood-CVU and gave OV the decisive points in a close team match.

MOUNT ABE 195-POUND wrestler Wyatt Allenson looks for the official signal just before he pins Tiger Liam Wagner on Dec. 29 at MUHS. Allenson split two matches, while Wagner went 1-3.
Independent photo/Steve James

The morning scores were:

  • Fair Haven/Rutland 36, Harwood/CVU 16.
  • Colchester 42, OV 9.
  • OV 15, Harwood/CVU 12.
  • Fair Haven/Rutland 36, Colchester 30.
  • Colchester 66, Harwood/CVU 6.
  • Fair Haven/Rutland 39, OV 6.

The afternoon scores were:

  • Granville 56, St. Johnsbury 18.
  • Springfield 48, Middlebury 21.
  • Essex 48, Middlebury 12.
  • Granville 48, Springfield 28.
  • Essex 50, Granville 30.
  • Springfield 45, St. J 18.
  • Middlebury 36, St. J 24.
  • Essex 45, Springfield 18.
  • Essex 60, St. Johnsbury 12.
  • Granville 48, Middlebury 15.
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