HOWLAND — Oak Hill senior Zoe Buteau will go down as the first girl to win a wrestling state championship in Maine.

It’s not just Buteau who made history Wednesday. Sixty female wrestlers from across the state competed in the first-ever girls’ wrestling state tournament at Penobscot Valley High School.

“It means a lot being part of the first girls state tournament,” said Deering’s Brooke Birkhahn, who won the 145-pound championship.

Birkhahn picked up a 10-6 decision over Nokomis’ Madeline Tardif in the finals and would earn the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler award for her efforts.

“It means a lot. I was really surprised when they called me up for (the Most Outstanding Wrestler award),” Birkhahn said.

Deering coach Ryan Hutchins was thrilled to see his wrestler climb to the top of the podium.


“I’m so proud of the effort that she put in today. She wrestled a tough opponent in the finals. It was a great match and to have her come out on top, I’m just so proud of her,” Hutchins said.

Buteau, who wrestles for the Lisbon/Oak Hill cooperative, was the first girl to claim gold, opening the finals with a pin of Mt. View’s Emma Fonger in the 132-pound weight class.

The senior, who also has a Class B South regional championship on her resume, was thrilled to see the entire girls’ wrestling community in the same place.

“It’s been pretty amazing just seeing everybody together as one,” Buteau said. “Honestly, it meant a lot because for my senior project I was going to try to push something like this … having this tournament and having it actually be sanctioned just feels amazing.”

Falmouth’s Anunthaya MacDonnell secured her first state title when she pinned Madison’s Taylor Tillinghast in the 120-pound title bout.

MacDonnell, who trains with the Portland/South Portland team, hopes the new state tournament will help bring more girls out for the sport.


“Today was exciting. I think now that we have a girls’ state tournament sanctioned, it will be really good for the future (of girls’ wrestling),” MacDonnell said.

Dexter had a pair of champions Wednesday. Aliviah Anderson took down Erskine Academy’s Kristin Ray to win the title at 106 pounds, and Autumn Irwin scored a 4-1 decision over Maine Central Institute’s Shelby Ostrowski to capture the crown at 182 pounds.

Camden Hills’ Kristina Kelly won the 113-pound championship with an 11-1 major decision over Caribou’s Rylee Saucier.

Bucksport’s Elizabeth Bernier secured the 160-pound title with a fall as she pinned Monmouth’s Breanna Cameron in 4:57.

Caribou celebrated a championship when Chloe Kirschmann pinned Sanford’s Tiffany Stevens to win the 220-pound title.

Windham coach John Nicholas, who is also the president of the Maine Amateur Wrestling Alliance, was thrilled to see the Maine Principals’ Association put on the event.

“Hopefully this tournament will really peak the interest and get more girls involved … hopefully this pushes it in the right direction and it only grows from here and builds girls’ wrestling,” said Nicholas, who believes the female wrestlers in the state earned this moment. “I think it’s huge for them to wrestle against their peers and get the recognition that they deserve.”

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