Mountain Valley’s Lucas Libby, top, shown wrestling Messalonskee’s Caden Trask in January 2022, won the 152-pound title at the Class B state championship meet for the second consecutive year last month. Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald

Lucas Libby’s favorite moment of the 2022-23 wrestling season was his victory in the Class B final.

“Just because it was kind of a barn burner, right up until the last second,” the Mountain Valley junior said.

Libby prevailed over Piscataquis’ Alex Zeller by a 10-8 decision.

“Wanted it more. Kept pushing,” Libby said.

Mountain Valley coach Gary Dolloff doesn’t specifically use those two phrases, but they are succinct summarizations of the things he says about Libby, who has been chosen as the Sun Journal All-Region Wrestler of the Year after claiming his second consecutive Class B state championship in the 152-pound weight class.

“Definitely, 152 was the toughest weight class in the state this year. I don’t think anybody would deny that,” Dolloff said.


“He just kept wanting to get better and better and better,” Dolloff added. “In the state meet, it was some kids that he had faced and had hard times against, but that day he was on fire. He was not going to get beat and he was not going to be denied.”

Libby wanted to be No. 1. He kept pushing.


This season, Libby went 47-6. He won a B South regional title and placed second in the New England qualifier.

Libby also is a standout running back and linebacker for Mountain Valley’s football team, but his wrestling training started long before the football season ended and winter practices began in November.

“He is a hard worker, in and out of season — well, for him, I believe there is no out of season,” Dolloff said. “Always training and competing.”


Dolloff said that Libby not only spends a lot of time physically practicing, he also puts a lot of effort into learning the craft of wrestling. He works with many coaches in the offseason, and always makes sure he understands and can execute what they are teaching.

That, Dolloff said, is what makes Libby such a good wrestler.

“I mean, physically, he has it; but mentally he just, he wants to learn everything he can about every move he can from anybody he can,” Dolloff said. “And he grasps knowledge from everybody or every coach he comes in contact with.”

Libby wants to be the best, so he keeps learning.

This season, Libby improved his takedowns and pins after relying heavily on technical falls in 2022. He credits teammate Nate Gamache.

“I had a really good practice partner, defensively,” Libby said.


Dolloff said that Libby had “a bunch under his wing” this winter, but he focused on two or three takedowns that he could set up and use at almost any time.

Once he took down his opponents, he was better at finishing them off.

“He actually ended up with the most pins on the team this year, and last year he had the most tech falls,” Dolloff said. “So he found new techniques to put people on their backs and keep ’em there.”


Libby earned his spot in the New England championships by finishing second at the Maine qualifier to Noble’s Derek Cote, the 152-pound Class A state champion. All three of Libby’s opponents were from Class A schools. He pinned Skowhegan’s Michael Welch in the first round and won a 4-3 decision over Dash Farrell of Mt. Ararat/Brunswick in the semifinals.

The New England championships in Providence, Rhode Island, might be where Libby showed most how much he wanted wrestling success, and how much he was willing to push through.


During his first match, Libby injured his finger — “Just dislocated it; it came out, pointed the wrong way,” he said.

An on-site trainer looked at his injury and, Libby said, “she said she wasn’t comfortable touching the finger, she wasn’t comfortable putting it back into place.”

Libby was forced to forfeit his first match, and the trainer told him that he couldn’t continue wrestling in the tournament until he went to the hospital. He rushed to the hospital in Providence, where there were about 40 people ahead of him in line in the waiting room.

Meanwhile, his coaches were sending photos of the finger to another trainer at the New England championships, and this trainer was confident he could pop Libby’s finger back in.

“I went back, and he popped it back in,” Libby said. “I went back for the second match that night, and I won that one via pin.”

His second match lasted 4 minutes, 49 seconds before Libby’s pin, and his next match went all three rounds, with Libby losing a 7-3 decision.


Libby wrestled those lengthy matches with two fingers taped together, which Dolloff said was “very limiting to use for grip.” But that was fine with Libby, because he was able to compete.

“When he was looking at his finger, he goes, ‘Just put it back in place, put it back in place. Or tape it up. Can I just tape it up?’” Dolloff said. “It wasn’t, ‘I want to get off the mat. I want to get back onto mat.’ You know, he worked so hard to get there.”


Libby’s dedication comes from his love of wrestling and of a good challenge.

“I just think it’s the hardest thing you can do,” he said, “and if you could be good at that, then you feel pretty accomplished at the end of the day.”

Dolloff says a few times that he can’t say enough good things about Libby.


“He’s just so well-rounded,” Dolloff, who has coached Mountain Valley for 21 years, said.

Recently, Dolloff needed help moving a military veteran out of his home. Libby and a couple of teammates showed up, ready to work.

Dolloff said acts of service in the community are common for Libby.

“I’d probably want someone to be there for me if I needed it, so …” Libby said.

Dolloff said that Libby, a team captain, is equally dedicated to helping his teammates, whether they need motivation, guidance or compassion.

“He wants the best for the team,” Dolloff said. “And it’s from the last kid to the first kid, he’s always helping everybody — anybody he can or anybody that’s having a hard time, he’s right there. And if something goes wrong, he’s right there.


“… He’s one of the best leaders I’ve ever had in my whole career.”

Libby has accumulated a career record of 90-9 in two years. He should reach 100 wins early in his senior season and will have a chance to reach 150 wins. And that will be in only three seasons because his freshman season was nixed when there was no wrestling in Maine the winter of 2020-21 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Dolloff laments that Libby won’t have a chance to become a four-time state champion, but Libby will keep pushing so he can achieve the next best thing.

“When you’re a kid, that’s the goal, man, that’s what you want to do is be a four-time,” Libby said. “So when you can’t be a four-time because of COVID, you go for three.”

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.