Gunnar Bradbury, assistant wrestling coach at T.W. Kelly Dirigo Middle School in Dixfield, has his beard cut off Wednesday by team members celebrating their state championship win in March. The beard-cutting was held during a student assembly. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

DIXFIELD — Members of the T.W. Kelly Middle School wrestling team celebrated their state championship win Wednesday by cutting their assistant coach’s beard during an assembly in the gym.

Gunnar Bradbury’s long beard was snipped a piece at a time as team members filed past him while students cheered them on.

Bradbury promised students earlier in the season “that if they pull off winning states, he’d get rid of his beard,” Principal Jason Long said before Wednesday’s assembly. He said the team hasn’t lost a meet since their 2018-19 season.

“(The team) sent nine wrestlers to the state tournament (in March) and all nine wrestlers placed either first, second or third. We’ve got to celebrate the kids,” Long said.

Adding to the celebration was special speaker Amelia Moore of Norway, who won a bronze medal the 125-pound class at the American Boxing Confederation’s 2022 Continental Championships in Ecuador this month.

“It was an awesome experience,” Moore said. “I fought and I beat an Olympian in the quarter-finals, then went on to go to the semifinals and it was a really, really, close fight.”

Moore’s will compete in the 2022 World Women’s Boxing Championships in Turkey in May.

Moore told students she had to overcome adversity in her own life: she became emancipated from her parents at age 16. At the time she worked two jobs and had to think about what she would eat each day and where she would be staying while also studying for her classes and pursuing varsity athletics, becoming the team captain in track and field her senior year.

“(Success) is not being the best all of the time, it’s just being consistent with (working at) it,” she said. “I cannot express that often enough: success comes from literally just showing up every single day. It’s really just showing up and doing the work every single day.”

Boxing champion Amelia Moore of Norway speaks Wednesday at a student assembly at T.W. Kelly Dirigo Middle School in Dixfield. Moore won a bronze medal in her 125-pound class at the American Boxing Confederation’s 2022 Continental Championships in in Ecuador. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

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