SANFORD — As expected, Marshwood High won the Western Class A wrestling title Saturday, with five champions and 12 total wrestlers qualifying for next Saturday’s state meet.
“Coming in here, we figured if we were consistent and didn’t lose to kids we’d been beating all year, we would position ourselves pretty well for next weekend and we did that,” Marshwood Coach Matt Rix said.
But the work for a third straight state title is far from done for the Hawks, who totaled 228.5 points.
Second-place Noble (199.5 points) and Massabesic (196.5) each advanced 11 wrestlers.
“It means it’s going to be another day like today. It’s going to be very close,” Massabesic Coach Rick DeRosier said. “People are going to be knocking everybody else off.”
Can the Knights or Mustangs improve enough in one week to catch Marshwood and work through Eastern A champ Skowhegan (nine qualifiers, seven regional champs)?
“Absolutely. We got better this week,” Noble Coach Kip DeVoll said. “Certain things we’ve been stressing all year and all of a sudden they started to get it.”
Noble will host the Class A championships.
“It’s going to come right down to the wire,” Rix said. “You throw Skowhegan into the mix and anything can happen.”
Marshwood’s three defending state champs won regional titles. Five of the nine Hawks to reach the final won titles.
Jackson Howarth edged Noble’s Joe Grenier 2-1 at 152 pounds; unbeaten Cody Hughes settled in at 160 pounds and controlled Portland’s Greg Cassella 16-4 in the final; and Brett Gerry defended at 182 pounds, beating Massabesic’s Trevor Burns, 5-0.
Howarth has won two of three this year against Grenier. Each has been close and low scoring.
“Barring something happening with the kids up north, and there are a couple good ones up there, they should meet in the final again at states and hopefully it goes our way,” DeVoll said.
The Hawks’ other champions were Bradley Beaulieu at 113, who edged Austin Shorey of Noble, 1-0; and Killian Murphy, who beat Jake Gagne of Biddeford 5-2 at 132 pounds.
“Right at the beginning of the season we knew guys like Killian had what it took to be finalists at regional and finalists at state,” Hughes said. “We knew it. We saw it in practice.”
Massabesic was led by Tyler Everett (126) and Mike Risti (195). Everett pinned Biddeford’s William Livermore in the final. Risti stopped Noble’s Robert Worrell in the first period.
“We definitely can (win states) if everyone comes out and wrestles well right away and everything falls in place. There’s always a chance,” Everett said.
Noble’s titles were by William Gagner at 120 pounds and Otto Keisker at 145. Gagner pinned Portland’s Jaime Lones-Martinez and Keisker pinned Marshwood’s Shamus McManus.
Gagner has come back from a badly broken arm during soccer season. Because of limited matches, he was seeded second behind Lones-Martinez.
“I definitely used that before the match like anyone would,” Gagner said. “I just said to myself I’ve worked too hard coming back from a broken arm and I’m the one who deserves to be up there,” atop the medal stand.
Defending 106-pound champion Kidayer Aljubyly had to overcome an injury during his final match against Darren Lapointe. As Lapointe worked free for an escape and a 1-0 lead, Aljubyly’s pinky finger on his left hand was dislocated.
“I thought about (quitting) but I wanted to continue for my coaches,” Aljubyly said. He came through with a 3-1 win.
Also winning regional titles were Dominick Day of Biddeford (138), Robert Martin of Bonny Eagle (170) and the Sanford duo of Andrew Moriarty (220) and Jed Scott (285).
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: