Erskine Academy’s Michael Sprague, right, battles Oxford Hills High School’s Jaden David in thein the 126-pound weight class in the Class A North Regional Champioships at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Paris on Saturday Feb. 9, 2018. (Michael G. Seamans/Kennebec Journal)
PARIS — For the first time in school history, Nokomis is a regional wrestling champion.
The Warriors claimed the Class A North championship by 24.5 points over runner-up Cony in the 14-team meet held Saturday at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School. Buoyed by four individual regional champions and four other podium finishers across the 14 weight classes, Nokomis made a disappointing showing at the conference championships a week earlier a distant memory.
“It’s the first time we’ve even been close,” Nokomis coach Scott Preble said. “The group of kids are maturing. I only have two seniors, but they have very vast wrestling knowledge and they’re like a family.”
Skowhegan and Oxford Hills finished tied for third, just one point behind Cony. Camden Hills finished fifth overall.
Two key championship matches clinched the Warrior title. First, junior David Wilson pinned Oxford Hills’ Dawson Stevens in the first period at 160 pounds and then James Boyd at 220 pounds pinned Viking Jarrod Taylor in just 22 seconds. The victories ensured that Oxford Hills — which won the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference title — would be unable to catch the runaway Warriors.
After leading Oxford Hills by only 7.5 points entering the championship bouts, Nokomis pulled away to a 169.5-145 win over the Vikings.
Wilson, though, said he hadn’t even thought about the big picture entering his match against Stevens.
“Not much,” Wilson said. “It was all about focusing and going fast, really picking the pace up. We had a lot of mistakes (at KVACs), so we had a good week of practice. We had a good day today.”
“Everyone came in this weekend with a lot more conference,” said 120-pound senior Josh Brown, who won his second straight regional title. “You have to put everything on the line in order to win.”
Nokomis was also helped by first-year wrestler Nick Lincoln, who finished a surprising fourth at 285 pounds.
Cony junior Nic Mills, the reigning state champion, won his second straight regional title at 195 pounds with a 5-1 win over Jeff Worster of Oxford Hills. He joined Ram teammate Noah Dumas (113 pounds) with individual championships Saturday.
“This means quite a bit,” Mills said. “There’s not too many kids from the south who I feel are as good as the kid I just wrestled (Worster).”
At 285 pounds, Erskine senior Jake Peavey won his 152nd career match — most by any wrestler in school history — with a dominant 52-second pin of Buckfield’s Shawn Hermanson. It was Peavy’s 106th career pinfall victory. Peavey and Eagle teammate Michael Sprague (16 pounds) won the two Erskine championships.
Skowhegan won three titles thanks to Jake Craig (106), Samson Sirois (132) and Jon Bell (170).
For Sirois, who won the state title a year ago, he was already looking beyond next week.
“All my focus is on New Englands,” Sirois said. “I went last year and I got fourth, but I’ve improved by bottom game and with my feet.”
Other regional champions in the meet included: Mt. Ararat’s Caden Kowalsky (138), Camden Hills’ Noah Lang (145), Nokomis’ Quentin Richards (who won via medical forfeit) and Oxford Hills’ Zuka Mabior.
Erskine Academy’s Michael Sprague, top, battles with Oxford Hills High School’s Jaden David in the 126-pound weight class in the Class A North Regional Champioships at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Paris on Saturday Feb. 9, 2018. (Michael G. Seamans/Kennebec Journal)Erskine Academy’s Michael Sprague, left, battles Oxford Hills High School’s Jaden David in the 126-pound weight class in the Class A North Regional Champioships at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Paris on Saturday. (Michael G. Seamans/Kennebec Journal)