For 13-year-old Dagan Bereyni, it appears the third time was, indeed, a charm.

Competing in the Pine Tree Wrestling League state finals for the third straight year in his weight class, Bereyni hoped to avoid the fate he was dealt in the previous two seasons, claiming second place after being upended in the championship round.

This year, the Searsport resident was not to be denied and came away with a 9-1 win in the 117-pound finals over Brewer’s Dylan Frost to win the Pine Tree Wrestling League state crown March 31 at Bath Middle School.

“It was pretty exciting,” said Bereyni. “I hadn’t [been able] to win it the last couple years, so this year to be able to experience the whole thing with my team, it was pretty good.”

Bereyni, who attends Reeds Brook Middle School in Hampden, wrestled with Troy Howard Middle School as an independent the last three years since Searsport District Middle School, where he had previously attended school prior to this year, does not have a wrestling team.

He joined Cummings Compound this year, which is a middle school wrestling club based out of Belfast, run by Mike Cummings.

“I’ve gotten to the [state] finals a couple years in a row but just hadn’t been able to pull it out,” Bereyni said. “But this year working with my new coach Mike [Cummings], it’s ridiculous how much better I am this year than I was last year and how much confidence that I have now.”

Bereyni defeated Freeport’s Josh Burke 16-1, breezed past Medomak Middle School’s 16-0 and upended Frost in the finals at this year’s state tournament.

Bereyni also pinned Frost the previous week at the 1:35-mark during the PTWL Eastern regional championships, to capture the regional crown.

The newly-crowned state champion said he was “pretty confident” heading into the event.

“I had already seen who was from the West on the other side and who took the first and second seed, and I saw some of the East [guys], obviously, because I wrestled them in the regionals,” he said. “I pretty much knew who I was going up against.”

Confident or not, the feeling when the referee raised his hand at the conclusion of the state championship match, was overwhelming for the young athlete.

“It was extreme happiness and it was relief that I’d finally pulled it out,” he said. “Just training and having fun at practice, it all paid off in the end. It wasn’t just second place for the third time in a row, it actually amounted to something this time. When the ref finally blew the whistle, it was a sense of relief.”

Bereyni said he is “probably” going to Hampden Academy as a freshman, but not sure where he would be wrestling, since neither Hampden Academy nor Searsport District High School offers wrestling as a varsity sport.

No matter where he resurfaces, it appears a safe bet Bereyni’s name will be one people will be talking about in the high school wrestling scene for the foreseeable future.

Courier Publications Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email at