As usual, Belfast ready for strong mat attack
Belfast — The following is a synopsis of the 2013-14 Belfast Area High School wrestling team:
Coach/years coached current team: Rick Kelley, second year.
Last year's record/playoff information: The Lions finished third (104 points) in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships, second (138.5) in the Eastern Class B championships and fourth (93) in the state Class B championships.
Roster: Seniors Sven Bedlin (170 pounds), Mike McFadden (145), Gustavo Mendez (145), Derrick Philbrick (152), Walker Roberts (138), Curtis Warren (152) and Dan Weiss (160); juniors John Capella (160), Tai Melende (220), Matt Smith (195), Austin Sprague (170), Jared Vaughn (195) and Brandon Waterman (132); sophomores Jesse Bishop (145), Dakota Coleman (182), Marlin Hansen (285), Dale Haskins (182), Matt Oxton (126) and Caleb Whitney (132); and freshmen Brandon Bruns (113), Jacob Harford (195), Caleb Hilt (162), Simon Lacasse (182), Austin Merando (106), Zach Sheafe (120) and Travis Tran (170).
Known graduation losses: Peter Kelley, Brent Waterman, Wyatt Roberts and Greg Stevens.
Significant impact wrestlers: Roberts, McFadden, Warren, Sprague, Oxton, Waterman, Weiss and Philbrick.
Team strengths: Senior leadership and balance.
Team goal: To win the state Class B championship.
Top league/regional opponents: Camden Hills, Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft and Ellsworth.
Outlook: The Lions lost key pieces to last year's team, notably Kelley, who nabbed conference, regional and state titles in the 195-pound weight class and also was named the Courier Publications 2012-13 schoolboy athlete of the year. Belfast also lost Brent Waterman, who won the KVAC and regional titles at 132 (did not compete at state championships due to injury) and Dagan Bereyni, who won conference and regional titles last year, who transferred to Ellsworth.
Despite the losses, the Lions have plenty of leadership and experience on this year's team. Enough that, according to coach Kelley, the team's goal of a state Class B crown is in play.
“If this year's team continues to work hard and progress throughout the season we will definitely be in contention,” the coach said. “We still have a long way to go in terms of preparation, but we definitely have the potential to achieve our goal.”