Former Mount Desert Island High School wrestler Wilder Young tries to pin Penobscot Valley’s Dylan Kruger during a December 2014 match. MDI is bringing back wrestling for the coming winter sports season. The sport was last offered during the 2014-15 season. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

MDI to revive wrestling program this season

BAR HARBOR — The high school sports scene at Mount Desert Island High School just got even bigger.

MDI principal Matt Haney confirmed the return of its wrestling program Tuesday at the high school board meeting. The team will compete in Class B for the 2018-19 season, which will be its first since 2014-15.

“We’re always trying to create as many opportunities as we can for our students to get involved with sports, even if there are sports we don’t have,” Athletic Director Bunky Dow said. “We had a lot of interest in wrestling, and we were able to put it together in time.”

Dow held two meetings in October to gauge interest in a possible return of the sport. Those meetings drew a total of 15 students, most of whom were members of the football team this fall.

That was sufficient interest to field a team, and the Trojans also had a prospective coach in Tony Dalisio, who coached the sport previously at Winslow before moving to MDI with his family this year.

Dalisio first approached Dow over the summer about the possibility of bringing back the wrestling team. Knowing the Trojans had sponsored a program in the past, doing so again seemed well within the realm of possibility, he said.

“I love the sport, and I believe in the life lessons it teaches,” Dalisio said. “With them having a team before and wrestling being big nearby with Ellsworth and Bucksport, I thought to myself, ‘Hey, I think I’ll ask.’”

The school kept its equipment from when the program disbanded back in 2015, and with athletes ready to compete and a private donation in place to fund a coaching stipend, all that was left was to go over scheduling.

The Maine Principals’ Association added the Trojans to several existing meets and tournaments.

Dow said the competition schedule would be released before the team’s first practice. Teams are eligible to begin practices Monday, Nov. 19, and can hold their first regular season matches Dec. 7.

“It’s really exciting because the season is right around the corner,” Dalisio said. “I’m really happy to see how many kids came out, and I’m ready for a fun year.”

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected]

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