NORTH BERWICK — Skowhegan High used the bitter taste of a poor state championship effort in 2015 to kick-start what would become the school’s first wrestling title Saturday at Noble High.

Skowhegan became the first school from the North (East) to win the Class A title since Oxford Hills in 1989.

“Our goal every year is to win states and last year we were upset with our effort,” co-coach Brooks Thompson said. “From the end of last year we said we’re going to do it this year.”

Skowhegan dethroned four-time defending champion Marshwood, outscoring the Hawks, 144-123. Noble finished third with 112.

Skowhegan had the title all but wrapped up entering the championship finals with a 27-point lead.

When undefeated Cody Craig beat Leo Amabile of Massabesic 7-0 in the 106 final, Craig had a third individual title and Skowhegan its first state title.

“It’s something we’ve been working for since day one. It’s been the goal,” Craig said. “Then it really started to take shape with (a win) at the Noble tournament this year. We had lost to Marshwood at a dual but that tournament, with all the best teams there, really sealed my confidence and I think it helped with a lot of the other guys.”

After graduating four individual champions from its 2015 championshp team, Marshwood had many holes to fill. The Hawks still had a stable of top wrestlers, going 4-1 in championship matches, but only had one other wrestler place in the top four.

“We overachieved this year,” Coach Matt Rix said. “To go 19-0, win our league and our regional title, we surpassed my expectations.”

Prior to Marshwood’s run, Noble had won 11 of 13 previous titles, the other two going to Massabesic.

Noble Coach Kip DeVoll said of Skowhegan’s breakthrough, “it’s good for the sport. It’s been almost 30 years since a team from the North won it and … they’ve been working toward this and they earned it.”

Skowhegan was a distant third a year ago, 68 points behind Marshwood. Craig said he could see his team taking a more poised approach.

“We were businesslike this year,” Craig said. “Just go out and wrestle each match, and if everyone does just that, does their part, we can win as a team.”

Skowhegan wrestlers claimed three titles. Joining Craig as individual champions were Julian Sirois at 152 and Kam Doucette at 160.

Peter Del Gallo of Gardiner, at 120, won his fourth state title, his first in Class A to go with three previous Class B crowns. He’s the 20th Maine high school wrestler to win four state titles. Griffyn Smith of Dirigo won his fourth state title at the Class B championships.

“It means the world to me. I’ve worked so hard for this,” an emotional Del Gallo said.

Marshwood’s individual champions were Kyle Glidden at 113, junior three-time champ Bradley Beaulieu at 132, Aidan Whitis at 138 and Justin Stacy at 182.

“It’s a little disappointing we didn’t get (the team title),” Stacy said. “I feel bad for the coaches, Coach Rix and the assistants, like we let them down a little but hey, Skowhegan had a really great team this year.”

Robert Hetherman of Mt. Ararat won the 170-pound title and was named the meet’s outstanding wrestler.

Jake Martel of Noble pinned Samson Sirois of Skowhegan in 38 seconds to win at 126 pounds. Last year he was third in a division that had three former state champs, including Del Gallo and Beaulieu.

“I’ve worked for this for a long time,” Martel said. “I was just determined to do anything I could to win it.”

Also winning for Noble was Josh Grenier at 145.

The other Class A individual champions were Chris Wilson of Nokomis at 195, Max Storey of Cony at 220 and Hunter Glidden of Nokomis at 285. Glidden beat Michael Darling of Deering, 5-2.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

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Twitter: SteveCCraig