1. MARSHWOOD: Two-time defending Class A champs graduated three state champions but also return three champs in juniors Cody Hughes, Jackson Howarth, and Brett Gerry. Hawks Coach Matt Rix says he wouldn’t put his team as the favorite – noting Massabesic, Noble and defending Eastern champ Skowhegan as equally talented – but few others agree. Hawks won’t run away with title like last year when they topped runner-up Massabesic by 88 points but can still win if wrestlers like senior captains Darren Lapointe, Josh Marks and Seamus McManus garner points.
2. NOBLE: Knights will be especially tough in the lighter weight classes and veteran coach Kip DeVoll is high on leadership of seniors Joe Grenier and Bill Gagner. Sophomore Otto Keisker and junior Joe Langley are also state-meet veterans. While the Knights do not have nearly as many wrestlers as they did while winning 11 state titles between 1999-2011, they have gotten an infusion of freshman talent with Austin Shorey, Jake Martel, Bailey Coull and Parker Wheland expected to start. “It’s probably the best work ethic of a freshman class I’ve ever seen,” DeVoll said.
3. MASSABESIC: Mustangs have wrestlers good enough to win state titles who just missed out last year in junior Mike Risti (second to Marshwood’s Gerry), senior Tyler Everett (Western A champ) and junior Zac Richard (injured). Look for senior Trevor Burns and freshman Trevor Walton to also gain valuable points. “I actually do think we can win it. It won’t be an easy road, though,” Massabesic Coach Rick DesRosier said.
4. WELLS: Like so most teams around the state, the Warriors won’t be able to fill all the weight classes but have high-quality wrestlers back from a third-place team that was only 13.5 points behind champion Camden Hills. Senior Colin Sevigney and junior Michael Curtis are defending champs and Tommy Cryer placed third. Isaac Desrochers and Charlie Durfee are two-time state tourney qualifiers. Coach Scott Lewia believes freshmen Cullen Cummings and Jake Spofford can contend.
5. CAMDEN HILLS: Defending Class B champs have placed first or second 17 of the past 18 seasons but Coach Patrick Kelly said staying on top will be tough. Camden graduated two state champs (Calan Bragg and Coleman Powers) and lost a key cog when Chris Weiss transferred to a private school. With Class C champ Foxcroft Academy joining Class B and the improvement of Ellsworth, Wells and Mountain Valley, Camden needs big seasons from returning state placers Connor Winchenbach, James Archer, John Underhill and Jared Gilbert and improvement from Zach Annis and Eli Smith.
– Steve Craig, staff writer