As a proud member of the 1988 state championship wrestling team at Bonny Eagle High, it pained Greg Gonyea to see how far the Scots had fallen. Making it worse is that Gonyea — a 1989 Bonny Eagle grad — had helped start the local Pee Wee wrestling program in 1990.
“We were just losing them once they got to high school,” Gonyea said Saturday at the Spartan wrestling tournament.
Before there was the dominance of Noble, Massabesic and current champ and favorite Marshwood, Bonny Eagle was the “it” program in Western Maine. The Scots won six state titles and were runners-up three times in a 10-year span from 1988 to their last title in 1997.
Gonyea, along with assistants Jack Kenney and Tom Turner, decided they had to step up and take over the team before the 2011-12 season. Four wrestlers — Sean Turner, Robie Martin, Cody Steele and Jon Gillar — came to the first practice.
“Then we slowly built the team up last year,” Gonyea said, noting Martin in particular as instrumental in recruiting around school.
On Friday and Saturday, the Scots showed some marked improvement in a number of ways.
They placed 13th (seventh among Maine schools) with 59 points.
Only four of the weight class champs were from Maine and one was Bonny Eagle junior Isaiah Reynolds, who had a dominating run through the 285-pound class. Martin placed fifth at 160 pounds.
Probably of greater importance is that Bonny Eagle had competitors in 12 of the 14 weight classes. Twenty-four team members were on hand to compete or cheer.
“We won one, maybe two, dual meets last year,” Gonyea said. “This year we’re 4-1.”
Gonyea said one of the pleasant surprises is first-year senior Andy Martel at 195, who is undefeated in dual meets. Martel was 2-2 at the Spartan, with one loss a 5-3 battle with top seed and eventual runner-up Cam Gargano of Timberlane, N.H.
A return to championship form is still on the distant horizon, but the Scots have already gotten back to being a credible program.
MARSHWOOD JUNIOR Cody Hughes continues to come back from an early-season broken nose and then a bout of illness. Hughes was the most outstanding wrestler at the Class A championships as a sophomore at 138 pounds. Last Saturday at the Spartan tournament, he placed third in the 152-pound division, wearing a protective mask, pinning Sanford’s Chase Eldridge in the consolation final.
Hughes was seeded third behind eventual winner Ryan Niven of Tyngsboro, Mass., and Chris Travers of Cumberland, R.I. Hughes lost to Travers 3-1 in the semifinals.
NEXT ON THE MAT: Coming off two two-day tournaments (Noble and Sanford) in eight days, several wrestlers and coaches said fatigue was setting in late on Saturday. Kennebunk hosts the Kennebunk Duals on Saturday and Biddeford hosts the Southern Maine Classic on Jan. 19. On Jan. 19, Marshwood will be among the teams in Essex Junction, Vt., for one of the top tournaments in New England.
Staff Writer Steve Craig can be contacted at 791-6413 or at: