TOPSHAM -- Camden Hills held off fast-closing Belfast to win the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference wrestling championships as expected Saturday at Mt. Ararat High School.
Top 5 Teams Camden Hills 249.5, Belfast 217.5, Mt. Blue 153.0, Morse 124.0, Skowhegan 118.5 Local champions 112: Khalil Newbill, Mt. Blue 140: Kaleb Austin, Skowhegan
The Windjammers placed seven wrestlers in the finals but came away with just one victory, finishing with 249.5 points. Belfast put six wrestlers in the finals and won five of those matches to finish with 217.5 points. Mt. Blue placed third overall and best among Class A teams in the 23-school field followed by Morse, Skowhegan and Cony.
Skowhegan's Kaleb Austin extended his unbeaten streak with a 5-3 win against Brandon Rich of Camden Hills in the 140-pound final. Other local winners included Mt. Blue's Khalil Newbill at 112, Gardiner's Daniel DelGallo at 135 and Oak Hill's Michael Hamm and Nick Wells at 215 and 285, respectively.
Austin led from start to finish against Rich, who he lost to twice when the two were sophomores two years ago. The Skowhegan senior scored takedowns in the first and second periods and an escape in the third.
"I need to stay on my feet," said Austin, who has more than 150 wins in his career. "That's the best way to go."
Skowhegan's Brandon Corson lost his first match of the season in a much anticipated 160-pound bout against Camden Hills' Jacob Powers, who was also unbeaten. Powers maintained control throughout and won 5-0, but all in all it was a good day for the Indians, who finished just behind Morse.
"We're hoping in regionals we can come close to taking it," Austin said.
Newbill scored a second-period pin against Belfast's Walker Roberts to extend his season record to 30-1. A No. 1 seed Saturday, the Mt. Blue sophomore will be a favorite at next week's Class A regionals. The Cougars also placed Chris Ingram in the 152-pound finals where he lost to Mt. Ararat's Malcolm Marshall. The team finished a strong third with 153 points, getting wins in the consolation finals from Kevin Moore (125), Caleb Farrington (160) and Joe Metcalf (215).
"I think it's a good sign for us that we can not only do well at this level but win at regionals next week," Mt. Blue assistant coach Seth Trahan said.
DelGallo ran his record to 34-2 with a hard-fought 5-3 win against Cony's Will Lundquist. The two had never met because Lundquist wrestled most of the season at 140.
"I watched his other match," DelGallo said, "and my teammate wrestled him before."
DelGallo's strategy was "to press the action" and it paid off when he scored a takedown with just five seconds left in the first overtime.
"We knew DelGallo was a really tough kid and we were hoping to push the pace a little bit more," Cony coach Shawn Totman said.
The Rams placed Norton Revell in the 171 finals where he lost 3-1 to Belfast's Kornealius Wood in overtime. Totman was pleased with his team's performance considering they lost two wrestlers to injury early in the day. Thon Itthipalakorn dislocated his elbow in a 145-pound match while Jake Charest rolled his ankle in a 103 bout.
"Those are two big guns to lose," Totman said. "But we hung right in there. We just ran out of guys in the end."
Gardiner's Jordan Brown won in the consolation finals at 152 to help the Tigers to 84 points for the day.
Oak Hill started in a hole as two of its top wrestlers were unable to make the meet. But Hamm and Wells helped make up for it at the end. Hamm hung on to defeat Morse's Sean Marrero while Wells pinned Camden Hills' Rhett Chase in the second period.
"Hamm had wrestled Marrero before and Marrero beat him 3-0," Oak Hill coach Shane Bouchard said. "I think Hamm had a bad match that time but that's a match that can go either way. They're pretty evenly matched kids.
"The same goes for Rhett Chase from Camden. They've never wrestled but they're both strong and they've both got a lot of moves. If he doesn't pin him it cold go either way. He hit that spladle real well."
Erskine's Nick Kothman won the 103 pound consolation final as the Eagles placed 11th, just behind Oak Hill.