Win (a lot) with character. (Rarely) lose, but with dignity. Respect opponents, coaches and the sport. Work tirelessly to perfect technique and strategy. Wrestle for a state title four times and win three.
Marcus Bubar did a lot in his standout wrestling career at Lisbon, and he did it better than most.
After capping off that career with a remarkable season that saw the Greyhounds win their third consecutive Class C title, him win his third straight state championship, finish second at the MAWA All-Star Invitational and fifth in New Englands, Bubar is the 2010 Sun Journal wrestler of the year.
The 145-pound Bubar often stepped onto the mat with wrestlers who were more physically gifted, but he walked off of it victorious 136 times in his career because of a unique combination of leverage and intelligence, Lisbon coach Mark Stevens said.
“He’s not incredibly fast. He’s not incredibly technical,” Stevens said. “But he won five matches in New Englands because he outsmarted them and his strategy was right on.”
“He has the right outlook when it comes to his approach, his practice ethic, his mental attitude when he wrestles,” he added. “He never shows an ounce of frustration or attitude on the mat. That’s one of those things where you can judge someone’s character.”
Bubar often left opponents showing their frustration and wondering what went wrong. A defensive wrestler by nature, he usually didn’t work for the first takedown
“He’ll let the other guy work and work and work, and as soon as the other kid makes a mistake, he’ll jump on him. He’ll get on him and flip him over to his back with a whizzer,” he said. “He is incredible with the whizzer as a defense mechanism.”
The whizzer was Bubar’s signature move, but he became even more dangerous this year by perfecting the spladle, a pinning combination that is a cross between a leg split and a cradle.
Bubar would often tempt his opponent by dangling his legs in front of them. When they went for them, he’d reach over the back for a spladle and pin the opponent before they even had a chance to counter.
“He did that 16 or 17 times this year,” Stevens said. “He did it at the state tournament. He pinned a kid at New Englands using a spladle.”
“I had a couple in the first meet at the Mountain Valley McDonald’s tournament, had a couple in a quad meet with Dexter, Dirigo and Foxcroft,” Bubar said. “Once you hit a move in a match, it kind of sticks with you, knowing that you can do it in a match. It gives you a lot of confidence.”
Also a standout soccer player at Lisbon, Bubar is a quick learner, putting moves and techniques into action almost immediatley after learning them. He also passed his knowledge on to other wrestlers. Stevens believes Bubar helped teammate Matt Nicholson to the 135 state title by wrestling with him ever day.
“Mike (McNamara, Lisbon’s 130 champion) and Matt went to the J Robinson Wrestling Camp and I actually learned a lot from them this year,” he said. “Just being able to be there for Matt and Mike and give them what I know and being positive with them and work with them every day was awesome.”
From the time he started wrestling in eighth grade, Bubar absorbed a lot of knowledge from his fellow Greyhounds, including his older brother, Cam, another block of granite in Lisbon’s wrestling dynasty. He also invariably became tougher to beat as the season unfolded. In eighth grade, he struggled during his first regular season on the mat, didn’t place at regionals but finished fourth at states. His freshman year he was .500 during the regular season, then knocked off the No. 1 seed at states and finished as a runner-up. State titles followed his sophomore and junior seasons.
This year, Bubar said, he became more of an offensive wrestler. He split two regular-season matches with eventual Class A champion Ben Valencia of Noble, cruised through the Class C qualifier and the first three rounds of the state meet, then beat Bucksport’s Jordan Fogg, 7-4, in the title match while leading the Greyhounds to their third consecutive state championship.
“I think as the season went along, I got better and better,” said Bubar, who went 48-2 in Maine. “That was because of better conditioning and just getting more comfortable on the mat.”
Valencia won the rubber match in the All-Star tournament finals, but Bubar ended his career in style when he placed fifth at New Englands, winning five of his seven matches
“I knew I could do well there. I didn’t think I could actually place, but as that day went on, I just kept getting better and better and wrestled some of my best matches down there,” he said.
Bubar will look to go out on top with the annual Maine-Nebraska Friendship Series in Nebraska. That will mark the end of his wrestling career, as he plans to take a year off and then attend pharmacy school.