The dual meet season is over and now the fun begins for the York High School wrestling team.
The Wildcats lost their final two matches of the regular season last Saturday, falling to Fryeburg Academy, 42-30, and Dirigo, 48-33, but the team and coach Wally Caldwell are now looking forward to the next three weekends, starting with this Saturday's league meet at Wells High School.
"It's going to be a fun time," Caldwell said. "We're excited."
The eight-team league meet, consisting of York, Madison, Mountain Valley, Lisbon, Dirigo, Wells, Fryeburg Academy and Monmouth Academy is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.
"Madison has some holes and Monmouth has some holes but they also have a phenomenal kid at 145 who is the real deal," Caldwell said. "Wells has some potential first place kids, Mountain Valley has three of four and we have a couple."
Caldwell believes Cody Spicer (heavyweight), Connor Elsemore (152) and Zach Handley (220) can compete for first place, with Handley being the favorite in his class. Others such as Mark Slusher (182), Josh Smith (145) and John Mackaman (106) could surprise some people.
"Those are kids you want to go see and compete for one of the top three spots, this is what it's all about at the end of the season," Caldwell said. "Maybe you can go ahead and beat someone who beat you earlier in the season. The league tournament is great for these kids and it sets the pace for the weekend afterward."
After Saturday's league meet, next up is the regional meet on Saturday, Feb. 8 at Winslow, and then the state meet on Saturday, Feb. 15 at Morse and then for the first time, a New England qualifier on Thursday, Feb. 20.
The top four finishers from each weight class at the state meet, in all three Maine classes, will compete for one of Maine's three spots (in each weight division) to send to the New England championships.
Mackaman, Smith, Handley and Spicer won both of their matches at Saturday's final dual meet of the season. York finished its dual meet season with a record of 19-7.
"That is close to where I thought we would be," Caldwell said. "We didn't fill some weight classes, but the kids who were there did well."