Marshwood team members celebrate their Class A state wrestling championship in Sanford on Saturday. (Carl D. Walsh/Portland Press Herald)
SANFORD — Marshwood High surprised the Class A wrestling field and defended its team championship Saturday at Memorial Gym.
It was Marshwood’s sixth Class A title in seven seasons and the 10th state title for Coach Matt Rix, who directed the Hawks to four Class B championships between 1989-99.
But unlike last season, when the Hawks dominated all year and won by over 100 points, this victory was far from assured. Marshwood finished second in the South regional and was down to nine active wrestlers, with seven advancing to the state tournament.
“This one’s pretty special,” Rix said. “Everybody performed. Everybody placed. I told them if everybody gets a medal, we’ll win this.”
That’s exactly what happened. All seven Hawks placed in the top four to build 117 points. Longtime rival and South champ Noble (96) and North champion Nokomis (89) followed.
The Hawks had two individual champs. Liam Coomey was named the meet’s Most Outstanding Wrestler. He won the 126-pound title, beating North champ Michael Sprague of Erskine Academy in the semifinal and South champ Sam Martel of Noble in a 15-10 final.
The Hawks clinched the team win one bout earlier when Noble freshman Josh Cote won his match, 7-2. Noble knew entering the championship bouts it needed pins from its three finalists and for Marshwood’s three finalists to lose.
Coomey’s victory was the exclamation point and David Spinney added to the margin with his overtime win against Caleb Frost of Bonny Eagle at 138.
“I didn’t want it to be some type of excuse that we won just because someone else won for us,” Coomey said. “We wanted to win on our own terms.”
Marshwood went 7 of 7 in the opening round with seven pins. The consolation finals were also important. Sean Moriarty (113) and James Thompson (195) won by pin, and Carsen Goodwin (120) got an unexpected injury default victory against Richard Oberg of Skowhegan.
“Coach always says, ‘if we don’t win it’s in the past. That story ends and then it’s time to write a new story and make it a happy ending,’ ” Moriarty said.
Sanford helped close its historic Memorial Gym to high school wrestling by placing fifth. Senior Sam Anderson, won his second state title, taking the 170-pound class.
“It just feels like the perfect closing, the perfect ending,” Anderson said. “If you were to write a book, coming out on top, senior season, in front of the home crowd, it would be almost a fairy tale. I never would have thought it would happen as a freshman but as I progressed, and grew and grew up, it was in sight all the way.”
Oxford Hills’ 160-pound champion, Dawson Stevens, was another wrestler who appreciated being part of Memorial Gym’s ending.
“My first-ever first place, back in Pee Wees, back in 2008. I was 8 years old and got my first-ever first place here. And my dad got his second state championship here (in) his senior year,” Stevens said. “It’s kind of cool.”
Samson Sirois of Skowhegan won his 200th career match when he beat Ben Laurence of Mt. Ararat/Brunswick 5-0 in the 132-pound final.
“I knew I was going to get it if I won it and I really wanted to reach 200. That was one of my goals,” said Sirois, a two-time state champ. “And I achieved it.”
Another Skowhegan highlight was undefeated freshman Jake Craig taking the 106-pound title with a 22-7 win against Colby Frost of Bonny Eagle. It’s the fifth straight year a Craig brother won the 106 title and seventh straight year a Craig brother has won a state title. Three-time champ Tyler started the streak as a freshman, then Cody won four straight at 106 from 2014-17.
Other state champions were Alden Shields of Kennebunk (113), Noah Lang of Camden Hills (145), Quinton Richards (152) and James Boyd (220) of Nokomis, Zuka Mabior of Oxford Hills (182) and Jakob Peavey of Erskine Academy (285).
The top four in each weight class advance to next Saturday’s New England qualifier at Nokomis in Newport.
Noble’s Jonathan Grenier and Camden Hills’ Noah Lang wrestle in the 145-pound class during the Class A state wrestling championship in Sanford on Saturday. (Carl D. Walsh/Portland Press Herald)Cony’s Nic Mills has Oxford Hills’ Jeff Worster on the floor in the 195-pound bout during the Class A state wrestling championship in Sanford on Saturday. Mills ended up winning, 7-1. (Carl D. Walsh/Portland Press Herald)