March 13, 2011

Dedication and tradition, a valuable combination for wrestler

Jacob Powers not only comes from a wrestling family, his work ethic has made him a champion.

By Paul Betit pbetit@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

When Jacob Powers was a middle school student in Appleton, he played basketball and wrestled.

click image to enlarge

Jacob Powers chose wrestling over basketball when he entered Camden Hills High, with family tradition involved in his choice. "Wrestling has been in my family for quite a while," he said.

2011 Kennebec Journal file photo

2011 MAINE SUNDAY TELEGRAM ALL-STATE WRESTLING TEAM

Connor Sheehan, Fryeburg Academy, sophomore, 103 pounds: Sheehan captured his first Class B state championship after finishing as runner-up in the same weight class in his freshman season.

Ryan Burgess, Mountain Valley, senior, 112 pounds: After winning two Class B titles at 103, Burgess capped his high school career by winning his third consecutive championship.

Jake Rasque, Marshwood, senior, 119 pounds: Rasque won his third consecutive state championship after winning Class A state titles at 103 and 112 pounds.

Brent Waterman, Belfast, junior, 125 pounds: After winning his first Class B championship last season at 119, Waterman moved up one weight class and claimed his second title.

Jared Jensen, Brunswick, sophomore, 130 pounds: The Class A runner-up at 119 last season, Jensen became the first Brunswick wrestler to win a state title.

Mike McNamara, Lisbon, senior, 135 pounds: After winning state titles at 125 and 130, McNamara captured his third Class C championship.

Ben Valencia, Noble, senior, 140 pounds: Valencia won his second consecutive title at 140 to help the Knights claim their third consecutive team title.

Jake Oh, Mt. Ararat, senior, 145 pounds: After not placing in the Class A state meet as a sophomore, Oh capped his high school career by winning his first state title.

Malcolm Marshall, Mt. Ararat, senior, 152 pounds: A fourth-place finisher at 140 at last season’s Class A state meet, Marshall capped his career with his first state title.

Jacob Powers, Camden Hills, senior, 160 pounds: Powers posted a record of 33-0 to claim his second consecutive Class B championship at 160.

Kornelius Wood, Belfast, senior, 171 pounds: Wood capped his high school career by winning his second Class B title at 171 in three seasons.

Stephen Sawyer, Westbrook, senior, 189 pounds: After qualifying twice for the Class A state meet at 171 pounds, Sawyer went 33-1 to capture his first state title.

Michael Cyr, Scarborough, senior, 215 pounds: A fourth-place finisher at 189 at last season’s Class A meet, Cyr became the first Scarborough wrestler to win a state title.

Josh Perschy, Marshwood, senior, 285 pounds: The third-place finisher at 285 at last season’s Class A meet, Perschy claimed his first state title while completing his fourth varsity season.

Coach of the Year

Luis Ayala, Foxcroft Academy: Ayala guided the Ponies to their first Class C state championship since 2005. “The kids worked hard and it paid off,” said Ayala, who has coached the Ponies for 10 seasons. “The kids came in before school to run and lift weights, and then we’d have a hard two-hour practice after school.” On crutches for half of the season following hip surgery, Ayala attributed a lot of the team’s success to Foxcroft’s assistant coaches, Duane Law and Terry Whittemore. “I’m surrounded by some great athletes and a great coaching staff,” Ayala said.

When it came time to decide which sport he was going to focus on when he enrolled at Camden Hills High in Rockport, it was a no-brainer.

"Wrestling has been in my family for a quite while," Powers said.

Powers' father and two of his uncles wrestled for the Windjammers at the old Camden-Rockport High School. His younger brother Coleman, a sophomore, competed at 119 pounds for the Windjammers this season.

"There is no other sport like it," said Jacob Powers, winner of the Maine Sunday Telegram's most valuable wrestler award. "It's a team sport, but it's individual, too."

Powers went 33-0 this season to capture his second consecutive Class B state championship in the 160-pound division.

"He's a really dedicated kid to the sport," Camden Hills Coach Levi Rollins said. "Every morning, he came in at six o'clock and practiced and got in shape before school. Then he came to practice every day after school and put his best effort in."

During the course of the season, Powers also won outstanding wrestler of the meet awards at the Redskin Invitational meet in Sanford, the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship meet and the Maine All-Star tournament.

"He's just a powerful, quick, strong, strong kid," said Rollins, who has coached the Windjammers for the past four seasons. "I've never had somebody on our team as strong as he is. He loves to lift weights and he's really athletic."

Powers went 3-2 last weekend while finishing fourth in his weight class at the New England high school championships in New Haven, Conn.

In the finals of the Redskin Invitational in January, Powers pulled out a 4-3 win in overtime against New England champion Nate Lawrence from Timberlane High in Plaistow, N.H.

"We were on different sides of the bracket, so I didn't get to wrestle him at the New Englands," Powers said.

Connecticut Class S state champion Dillon Carter of Nathan Hale-Ray High in Moodus eked out a 3-2 win against Powers in four overtimes in the semifinals of the championship round at the New Englands.

Wrestling isn't the only sport Powers has competed in at Camden Hills.

Last fall, he rushed for more than 1,600 yards and scored 19 touchdowns to help the Windjammers post a 4-5 record in their second season of varsity football.

Last spring, Powers qualified for the Class B state track and field meet in the 200-meter run.

Powers intends to continue his wrestling career at Division I Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania.

"The coach wants me to wrestle," he said. "I'm going to see if I can get the spot at 165."

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: pbetit@pressherald.com

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