Five Maine wrestlers were known to have recorded 200 career wins prior to this season.
By the end of Saturday’s state championships, that number is expected to double.
“I think that’s pretty awesome. We’ve all earned it,” said Marshwood High’s three-time state champion, Bradley Beaulieu, who has a record of 230-14. “Two hundred matches, no matter what, that’s a lot of matches to win and a lot of matches to wrestle. It takes not getting hurt, not missing tournaments, making weight. So it’s cool that (we) all got it.”
Austin Shorey (217 wins, 28 losses) of Noble and Skowhegan’s three-time state champ at 106 pounds, Cody Craig (212-5), also already have crested 200 wins.
Robert Hetherman of Mt. Ararat/Brunswick has 197 wins with 119 pins. Hetherman is expected to win his second straight Class A 170-pound title at Camden Hills, meaning he should get his 200th win in the championship match.
And at the Class B state championship at Bucksport, defending 126-pound champion Caleb Austin of Mountain Valley needs just one win to hit 200.
“I think they strive off each other,” said Mountain Valley Coach Gary Dolloff. “They try to push each other. It might not always be on the mat but they’re trying to attain what everyone else has done.”
The Maine Principals’ Association does not keep records for individual wrestlers but very few 200-win careers have been recorded.
Peter Bronder of Noble won 203 matches from 2006-09. He’s considered the state’s first 200-win wrestler and all-time wins leader until Cody Hughes of Marshwood surpassed him in 2015, establishing a new mark of 217 wins.
That same season, Craig’s older brother, Ty Craig, also passed 200 wins. Julian Sirois of Skowhegan reached 206 wins in 2016, according to the Skowhegan co-head coach, Brooks Thompson. Noble’s Otto Keisker finished with 207 wins in 2016.
It used to be that 100 wins was the wrestling equivalent to scoring 1,000 points in basketball. But the increase in large invitational tournaments means most wrestlers get over 50 matches per season.
“One hundred wins is pretty easy to get now,” said Erick Jensen, the Mt. Ararat/Brunswick coach. “We really should be talking about 150 as the new standard. But it’s a huge accomplishment getting to 200. You have to get 40 wins as a freshman to even have a chance.”
With Beaulieu already over Hughes’ mark, and Shorey and Craig expected to pass it, there is growing debate about who should be considered the all-time win leader.
That’s because Marshwood counts national tournament victories and the other schools do not.
“More this year than any other year we’re talking about it,” Thompson said. “It should be only in-season wins, from November through New Englands. Regardless, all of these boys have done some pretty spectacular things. They’re all really good wrestlers and they’re great kids.”
As it did with Hughes, Marshwood counts Beaulieu’s wins at two national folkstyle (the form used in high school) tournaments: The Super 32 in Greensboro, North Carolina, held in late October, and the National High School Coaches Association’s National Wrestling Championships in Virginia Beach, Virginia, which is after the New England championships.
“The way we look at it, it has to be folkstyle wrestling, he has to be wrestling for Marshwood and it has to have merit,” said Marshwood Coach Matt Rix.
According to the Press Herald’s research, Beaulieu is a combined 26-8 in three trips to the Virginia Beach nationals and two Super 32 appearances.
If the November-to-New England standard was applied to everyone, then Shorey would have the most wins among active wrestlers.
Gerry Durgin, the MPA’s staff representative on the wrestling committee, said it’s up to the coaches to determine a standard, then stick to it.
Beaulieu, who is unbeaten this season, said after his regional championship win that he would like to be able to claim the most wins but, “I think it’s a friendly competition more than anything.”
Shorey, who is 56-4 this year, said he’s more concerned about getting ready for the New England championships.
“I mean, you always want to be better than people but it don’t matter to me,” Shorey said. “If I win New Englands, that’s what’s going to matter.”
Shorey and Beaulieu met often in their first two seasons, with Beaulieu having the career advantage, including a win in the 113-pound state championship match as freshmen. As sophomores, Shorey won his only state title at 120 and Beaulieu took the 126 title.
“I wrestled Austin Shorey, I think, eight times in high school,” Beaulieu said. “I think it not only got me better but it got him better.”
This season both are comfortable being in separate weight classes.
“As seniors, having two kids, the best in the state, in the same bracket, it didn’t really seem like it had to happen,” Shorey said. “And again, New England is the goal.”
Beaulieu has placed sixth, second and third in his three New England tournaments. Craig, Shorey and Hetherman were each one win away from a top-six finish as sophomores, then placed second, third and fourth, respectively, as juniors. Mountain Valley’s Austin made his first trip to the New Englands as a junior and did not place.
“I think if you asked Caleb, he didn’t have the tournament he wanted and I think that’s going to help him this year,” Beaulieu said. “I think Shorey could win New Englands at 145. He’s bigger, stronger. I know where I stand at (138). I’ve beaten some of the top guys there, and Cody at 106, he’s a returning finalist. You throw in Hetherman and everyone else and it’s probably one of the better senior classes that has ever come through the state.”
CORRECTION: This story was updated on Feb. 20 at 11:15 a.m. to include Otto Keisker as a 200-win wrestler.
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or: