A busy stretch of championship wrestling meets gets underway Saturday with four regional meets.

“We still have a month to go, really five weeks when you add in the New England Championship,” Noble coach Kevin Gray said. “There’s still a long season ahead. Hopefully.”

The postseason will be even busier for 16 of the state’s top teams, including Oxford Hills, Mountain Valley and Dirigo/Spruce Mountain, that accepted invitations to the Maine Principals’ Association’s first dual meet championships, to be held Friday, Feb. 21. The Class A dual meet is in Skowhegan, and the Class B meet will be at Penobscot Valley in Howland.

The new event is scheduled between the traditional points-based state championships on Feb. 15 and the New England Qualifier on Feb. 29.

“A lot of the other states do it,” Gray said of the dual-meet championships. “All the weight classes matter. At the state meet, you could win it with just five really good kids.”

Here’s a brief overview of the tournament schedule for Maine high school wrestlers:

Regional championships, Saturday

Noble will look to win its third straight Class A South title at Massabesic, and defending state champion Mt. Ararat/Brunswick heads the list of contenders in the Class A North meet at Oxford Hills.

The Class B meets will be at Medomak Valley (South) and Caribou (North). Wells is the three-time defending Class B state champion. Coach Scott Lewia expects Medomak Valley and Mountain Valley to be his team’s biggest challengers on Saturday.

The top four wrestlers in each weight class at the regional meets advance to the state championships.

“I want them all to get in the top four. All 13 of them,” Lewia said, noting that heavyweight is the only class without a Wells entry. “They’re all capable. A couple of them will need to have good days to do that, but it’s possible. They’ve had them before.”

State championships, Saturday, Feb. 15

Sanford High School hosts the Class A meet, and Fryeburg Academy hosts the Class B meet.

Girls individual championship, Feb. 19 at Windham

This will be the second year in which the MPA has sponsored a girls-only tournament. The number of weight classes has increased from eight to 10 (the boys have 14 weight classes).

Meet director Patrick Casten said the 126- and 138-pound divisions were added to help spread the field to, hopefully, eight wrestlers per class. Entries are not due until Feb. 12, so Casten isn’t sure how many girls will be participating, but he does expect an increase from the 2019 meet at Penobscot Valley.

Dual meet championships, Feb. 21

The top four dual-meet teams during the regular season from the North and the South in both classes qualified. Seeding was based on in-state dual meet records, with head-to-head results and records against common opponents also taken into account.

It’s a single-elimination format, starting with crossover matches in the quarterfinals: No. 1 in the South vs. No. 4 in the North, No. 2 South vs. No. 3 North, etc.

In Class A, No. 1 Noble (17-1 in dual meets), No. 2 Massabesic (19-3), No. 3 Biddeford/Thornton (20-7) and No. 4 Cheverus (19-7) represent the South. The North teams are No. 1 Mt. Ararat/Brunswick (23-1), No. 2 Camden Hills (29-2), No. 3 Cony (20-3) and No. 4 Oxford Hills (20-6).

Class B South teams are: No. 1 Wells (26-2), No. 2 Medomak Valley (27-8), No. 3 Mountain Valley (11-2) and No. 4 Dirigo/Spruce Mountain (11-7). Class B North teams are: No. 1 Dexter (26-1), No. 2 Belfast (28-3), No. 3 Washington Academy (17-8) and No. 4 Foxcroft Academy (22-7).

Lewia said the dual meet format provides a championship opportunity for more wrestlers.

“You always have one or two kids who don’t qualify for states, and others that aren’t a part of scoring points at the state meet,” Lewia said. “Now, they can be part of the (dual-meet team). It’s beneficial for those kids who aren’t your top wrestlers.”

Former Kennebunk athletic director Marty Ryan, a frequent meet director for championship events, wrote the proposal for the dual meet championships.

“We feel there’s a lot of energy and excitement for this, and we’re hoping we’ll have a gym packed with fans,” Ryan said.

New England Qualifier, Feb. 29, in North Berwick

The top four finishers in each weight class at the Class A and Class B state meets will square off in a double-elimination format.

The top three in each weight class qualify for the New England championships, to be held March 7-8 in Methuen, Massachusetts.


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