Massabesic High wrestling coach Joe Eon surveys his team during a practice in December. The Mustangs are the defending Class A dual meet champion. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

A busy month of championship high school wrestling, including new opportunities for girls, begins Saturday when 16 teams will gather at Mt. Ararat High in Topsham for the Maine Principals’ Association State Duals Championship.

Massabesic is the defending Class A champion and the South’s top seed. The dual-meet championship, first held in 2020, uses a single-elimination team format, starting with quarterfinals in both Classes A and B. Each dual meets consists of one match at each of the 14 weight classes. No individual champions are named.

The next two weeks at the regional and state meets, wrestlers compete in their weight classes and accumulate team points as they progress, with an individual champion named in each weight class. The team championship is determined by total points.

“We hope to come out on top Saturday, but our main focus is regionals and states,” said Massabesic Coach Joe Eon. “Dual states is a focus, too, but we want to be at the top come the end of the season.”

The Class A and B state meets are on Feb. 17 – Class A at Cony High in Augusta, Class B at Mountain Valley in Rumford. After that comes the state’s New England Qualifier, and then the New England championships.

For some of the top wrestlers in Maine, the state duals will be the first of five consecutive championship weekends.


In Class B, Wells is looking to add to its recent run of state titles. The Warriors won both the dual meet and the tournament format last season and enter Saturday’s competition as the top seed from the South.


Several of the teams at Saturday’s dual meet championship will have girls in their starting lineup. Oceanside senior Maddie Ripley, who last season became the first girl in Maine to win a state championship while wrestling against boys (Class B, 106 pounds), appreciates that girls will have even more championship opportunities this season.

The MPA will hold its fifth Maine State Girls Wrestling Championship on Feb. 20 at Winslow High. New this year, a team champion will be crowned.

“I think that’s awesome,” Ripley said. “Hopefully it will get more girls to try wrestling to make an actual team.”

Last season, Oceanside wrestler Maddie Ripley became the first girl in Maine to win a state championship while wrestling against boys. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Ripley is the only girl on Oceanside’s squad but, “every tournament I’ve been to this year, there have been multiple girls competing. There’s a different range of talent, but they all look like athletes,” she said.


Another first will be the girls-only New England Interscholastic Championship, which will run concurrently with the open boys’ tournament on March 1-2 in Providence, Rhode Island. Both the Maine state girls’ tournament and the girls’ New England event will use 12 weight classes ranging from 100 to 235 pounds. Wrestlers must qualify at their state girls’ tournament to compete at the New England championship. Maine can send its top two finishers in each weight class.

As a junior, Ripley was fourth at Maine’s New England Qualifier tournament, missing a New England berth by one spot. She said she intends to wrestle in Maine’s NEQ – she’d like to earn the honor of qualifying – but has already decided she will compete in the New England girls’ tournament.

“There’s no question I’d wrestle at the girls New England because I would have a good chance of placing, or possibly winning,” Ripley said.


Saturday’s dual meet championship includes the top four teams from both the North and the South in Classes A and B, as selected by the MPA Wrestling Committee. Class A quarterfinals start at 10:10 a.m., Class B at 11:45. Finals in both classes are scheduled to start at 4:15 p.m.

The Class A lineup (with in-state records as of Jan. 24) is: South No. 1 Massabesic (15-0) vs. North No. 4 Mt. Blue (22-4); South No. 2 Noble (11-0) vs. North No. 3 Windham/Gray-New Gloucester/Westbrook (21-5); North No. 2 Oxford Hills (18-3) vs. South No. 3 Sanford (11-2); and North No. 1 Camden Hills (19-2) vs. South No. 4 Marshwood/Traip (14-7).


“We always set it as a goal for our team to qualify for duals,” said Windham/GNG/Westbrook Coach John Nicholas. “I feel it’s quite an honor to be selected.”

In Class B, South No. 1 Wells (16-4) starts with North No. 4 Mattanawcook/Penobscot Valley (15-4). The other quarterfinals are South No. 2 Oceanside (27-7) vs. North No. 3 Dexter (10-4); North No. 2 Piscataquis (19-2) vs. South No. 3 Dirigo (12-3) and North No. 1 Mt. View (20-7) vs. South No. 4 Mountain Valley (11-5).

At the regional championships on Feb. 10, the attention shifts to individual results, which in turn sets the stage for the Feb. 17 state meets. The top four finishers in each of the 14 weight classes at a regional meet advance to the state meet. From a team perspective, the goal is to get as many wrestlers as possible to advance.

The Class A regionals will be at Sanford (South) and Oxford Hills (North). Morse High in Bath will host the B South meet. B North is at the University of Maine-Fort Kent.

A top-four finish at the state tournaments the following week earns wrestlers a spot in the New England Qualifier on Feb. 23 at Belfast. A top-three finish is worth a spot in the New England championships.

“Every match from here on out matters,” Eon said.

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