For a quarter-century, Mount Anthony Union High School has dominated high school wrestling in Vermont.
That won’t change at this weekend’s state championships.
The Patriots own top seeds in nine of the 14 weight classes, and are on the precipice of the program’s 25th straight crown, a milestone they’ll begin to chase starting today at Vergennes Union High School. Preliminary rounds begin at 4:30 p.m., with finals slated to commence at 6:15 pm. Saturday.
“As a coach I take one year at a time. As a group or team we haven’t talked about the number 25,” said Legacy in an email, “but we have a lot of alumni and past wrestlers who have and are excited about it. We try to let this team get their own identity. This group of kids just wants to keep the team tradition alive.”
Defending champions dot MAU’s lineup: Jesse Webb (285 pounds), Troy Gassaway (113), Kyle Fletcher (126) and Brandon Marcoux-Schaefer (195) lead the Patriots, whose 24-0 record include wins over the New Hampshire and Massachusetts state champions. Webb and 132-pounder Miguel Calixto, a state champion from Connecticut who transferred to MAU at the start of the season, can cap perfect records. Webb, a junior, has won the heavyweight division the last two years.
While the Patriots are in the top position, Mount Mansfield is one of several teams fighting for second place. Overcoming injuries and health issues, the Cougars’ depth — they started the season with 31 wrestlers — has been tested in a 19-2 campaign that saw them capture the NVAC league crown.
MMU’s Ben Bliss will put his 40-0 record and top seed on the line in the 106-pound division. Brendon Giroux (145), John Sirios (185) and Michael Pearce (285) also have top-3 seeds, key points needed to fend off fellow contenders Champlain Valley, St. Johnsbury and the cooperative team of Bellows Falls-Hartford.
“It’s going to be a madhouse for second,” MMU coach Harley Brown said. “I think our odds are good. I like our chances and the team has done really well.”
Harwood’s Kyle Streeter, the No. 1 seed at 220, is a fourth wrestler seeking perfection this weekend. Vergennes, when it served as host in 2010, used a raised structure for competition, but won’t this weekend because of the high estimated cost, said athletic director Peter Maneen said.