Mountain Valley wrestlers Ryan Burgess and Josh Thornton and Marcus Bubar of Lisbon have each been selected to participate in the 26th annual Maine/Nebraska Friendship Series wrestling meet the last week of June. The Mainers will compete at four venues throughout the Cornhusker state.

The Mountain Valley teammates, both juniors, each won Class B state championships two months ago. It was Burgess’ second state crown.

Bubar, a senior, won three Class Cstate championships and was named the 2010 Sun Journal Wrestler of Year. The senior placed fifth in New England last month and finished his career with 136 wins.

The prestigious exchange was created in 1985 and is the longest running exchange between two states in the entire country.

“Josh is very excited to get this opportunity,” Josh Thornton’s mother, Linda Thornton, said. “He and Ryan both got to wrestle last year when the Nebraska boys were here (in June, 2009), so they are really looking forward to seeing how they do things in Nebraska.”

Other Falcon wrestlers who have traveled with the Maine team in the past include Jesse Peterson (2000) and David Smith (2006). Lisbon teammates Derek Guisto and Justin Cornell each went in 2004.

“We had a pretty good representation,” Lisbon coach Mark Stevens said. Stevens served as coach for Maine.

“It was an interesting trip and the team performed well,” he said.

Burgess and Thornton realize that nothing can be taken for granted and have already mapped strategies. Thornton has been into a totally new fitness program encouraged by his coaches, including running to keep his endurance up and strengthening. Burgess has been lifting weights three days a week, and may run track to keep in shape.

Other team members include Connor Sheehan of Fryeburg, Ben Valencia of Noble, Scott Carpenter of Calais, T.J. Vallee of Cony and Dan DelGallo of Gardiner.

“Being chosen for this is an extremely big honor,” Thornton’s mother Linda said. “And I am sure (the) boys will represent Maine well. (They) are doing some fundraising for this trip.”

filed under: