Vermont High School Wrestling 2017 Hubie Wagner Holiday Tourney
Vermont High School Wrestling is alive and well!
I just came back from two days at Middlebury’s Hubie Wagner where I was treated to some awesome wrestling, a superbly run tournament that finished earlier than the finals were expected to start, and a host of wrestlers that made the MOW voting more difficult than climbing a greased flagpole.
In what has always been the premier Vermont High School holiday wrestling tournament, this year’s Hubie proved to be no exception.
For starters, I feel bad for Nick Johnson of Milton, he probably only wrestled for a cumulative five minutes. I’m sorry…let me rephrase that…I feel bad for his opponents whom he mowed through in a string of first period pins like Dale Earnhart took NASCAR. In his two days at the Hubie, he actually wrestled less time than one full match and took out his opponent from Springfield in the finals in 22 seconds! Ladies and Gentlemen, this kid is for real and I’d rather step in front of a moving freight train than wrestle him. Actually there’s probably not much difference! If college coaches don’t come to Vermont to recruit wrestlers, then they’d better change their tune. “Prime Time” Johnson is taking no prisoners!
The finals were, with a few exceptions, a collection of outstanding matches that featured wrestlers from most of the Vermont schools that are also some very definite college wrestling candidates. Middlebury’s own Dustin Davio pretty much dominated his finals opponent with some great takedowns and plenty of terrific counters until he got caught in a headlock late in the third period and almost got pinned.
But….in true Davio form, he escaped from what looked like a sure pin to get a reversal and won in what could have easily been an MOW moment! Pretty gritty win young man. You get my Moxie Award!
BTW – this is a kid that was in a car accident this summer and not only had to forego his trip “Down Under”, but was unsure if his injuries would even allow him to wrestle again!
Then there’s Ben Murray of Mt. Abe who dominated his opponent Carlos Medranos-Garcia from Granville but it was anything but a cakewalk! Murray also had his share of takedowns and great counters but had to wrestle hard and be aggressive yet cautious in another match that could have been an MOW contender.
Fast forward to Sam Gebo of Milton who took out Jayson Webster of Springfield in the finals. Webster wrestled extremely well all through the tournament but ran into an extremely quick light heavyweight in Gebo who finished the final in a first period pin.
“Beam me in Scottie” to Harwood’s Sully O’Hara who outpointed top seeded Gable Shaddock in the 170 final. Shaddock also wrestled extremely well all through both days and narrowly lost in a seesaw battle. That win also garnered the MOW for the #2 seed O’Hara. Great job Sully.
An easily forseeable but hard to predict final was the contest at 182 between Pearsall of Mt Abe and LaChapelle of Springfield. Who knew?… and proponents from both camps were predicting a win. In the final analysis it was Pearsall who prevailed over what looked to be a somewhat “gassed” LaChapelle in a really tight match. However, this war ain’t over. This looks to be a rivalry like the Hatfields and the McCoys and you just might see these two guys in the finals in Otter Valley for the state tourney. These are two fine wrestlers and both have a ton of pride and trust me….this won’t be settled till the fat lady sings!
In all, I had the pleasure to watch some fine wrestling from all of the Vermont schools that were present which included Harwood, Springfield, Milton, Mt Abe., Vergennes, Essex, Mill River, Spaulding, Middlebury, and a much improved Burr & Burton under the tutelage of first year coach Sarah Barker including 3 female wrestlers! These ladies (at least off the mat) and gentlemen have a take no prisoners attitude, wrestled extremely hard, featuring at least one finalist… and in my opinion have a very strong future in this league. Kudos to your program and to you Coach Barker for a noticeable improvement in your squad.
Some tournament notes:
In years past, the Hubie was characterized as “Thee” Vermont Holiday tournament with an opportunity to get at least 5-9 matches for each wrestler. That being said, it was always a popular but time consuming tourney that had it’s share of excessive timeouts and breaks which dragged out the affair.
Not so this year! Kudos to Coaches Raymond and Ashley. They had the 180 or so wrestlers representing 14 schools out of the gym before finals were even scheduled to start. The Holiday Invitational started on time, finished early and was one of the best run tournaments I’ve been to. And…..if Coach Ashley ever decides to give up his day job, he’s got a definite future in broadcasting.
Kudos to Granville, the team winner of the 2017 Hubie Wagner. All of their kids wrestled hard and were total class in victory and defeat. Coach Palmer has his squad fine tuned and running hard. They’re indeed a team to watch!
Kudos also to Springfield High School. Their program is blossoming thanks to Coaches Beebe and Buck (almost sounds like a cop show) and the tireless efforts of Gigi Guy and Kelly Stettner. They’ve bounced back
from a small program to a bonafide contender with a great youth program, women’s program, and their foot in the door to the state tourney. Four wrestlers in the finals attest to that success! Not to mention that with all of the youth wrestlers they have their program has a solid future!
Although some of the team’s numbers aren’t what they’d like, all of the Vermont schools have some very great college potential candidates and all had some glittering moments at the Hubie. To me it spells out a very promising future for Vermont high school wrestling!
For Information on the 2018 Hubie Wagner, please contact Jon Ashley – ashley