March 11, 2012

Telegram All-State Wrestling: Chase learned all the right moves

Rhett Chase of Camden Hills dominated his opponents, even when wrestling bigger foes.

By Paul Betit
Staff Writer

During his four years as a varsity wrestler at Camden Hills, Rhett Chase learned there was more to wrestling than just throwing your weight around.

click image to enlarge

Rhett Chase was undefeated this winter against Maine competition, including victories over the other two state champions in his weight class, as well as the 285-pound Class A champ.

Trina Rollins Photo

Telegram All-State Wrestling

Tyler Craig, Mt. Blue, freshman, 106

Craig went 43-0 to capture the Class A state championship in his first varsity season.

Connor Sheehan, Fryeburg Academy, junior, 113

After moving up from 103, Sheehan went 42-0 and won his second consecutive Class B championship.

Iain Whitis, Cheverus, junior, 120

While wrestling as an independent, Whitis went 26-0 to claim his first Class A championship.

Ethan Gilman, Massabesic, senior, 126

Gilman went 33-3 and capped his high school career by winning his third Class A state championship.

Brent Waterman, Belfast, junior, 132

Waterman, who moved up one weight class, went 25-2 and won his third consecutive Class B state championship. 

Danny DelGallo, Gardiner, junior, 138

DelGallo went 38-0 and claimed his second straight Class B state championship

Nicholas Janes, Marshwood, junior, 145

While leading the Hawks to their first Class A championship, Janes went 35-6 to claim his first individual title.

Jared Jensen, Brunswick, junior, 152

After moving up from 130, Jensen went 49-2 and earned his second consecutive Class A championship.

Graham Strondak, Westbrook, senior, 160

Strondak went 38-1 on the way to winning his first Class A state championship.

Caleb Farrington, Mt. Blue, senior, 170

Farrington went 47-3 and claimed his first Class A state championship.

Anthony Batty, Camden Hills, senior, 182

While helping the Windjammers win their second Class B state team title in three years, Batty went 45-9 and earned an individual title.

Christopher Powell, Bucksport, senior, 195

Powell went 41-1 to capture his second consecutive Class B state championship.

Rhett Chase, Camden Hills, senior, 220

Chase, who qualified for the state meet in all four varsity seasons, went 47-0 to claim his first Class B state title.

Marcus Eaton, Brewer, senior, 285

The top heavyweight in the state, Eaton went 34-1 to win the Class A title.

Coach of the Year

Matt Rix, Marshwood

The Hawks won their first Class A championship since moving up from the Class B ranks in 2000. "Wrestling is an individual sport, but we try to focus on it as a team," said Rix, who has coached the Hawks for 28 seasons. Before moving up to Class A, Marshwood won four Class B state titles. "We try to use wrestling as a life lesson," he said. "It's not all about the skills."

"Wrestling is more of a mental game," he said.

"People say that we just go out there and throw each other around, but that's not true. We have to try to think two, three steps ahead of the other guy, which isn't easy. "

This season, Chase managed to stay two or three steps ahead of most of his opponents. He reeled off 50 consecutive wins before losing his first match of the season last weekend in the semifinal round of the New England championships.

Chase, the Maine Sunday Telegram's wrestler of the year, also led the Windjammers to their second Class B state championship in three seasons.

"Up until my junior year, I was trying to go out there and muscle kids, and I couldn't do that," Chase said. "I got a lot of victories, but I couldn't do that for long. I just wasted so much energy sitting there trying to muscle guys who were taller than me and so much stronger than me. I've learned to problem-solve on the fly."

Camden Hills Coach Levi Rollins said Chase improved with each varsity season.

"He's gotten more mature, and you can see in his wrestling from year to year he became more focused from the beginning of the season to the end," the coach said. "When he walked in (to practice) at 5 o'clock in the morning you could tell he was ready to go. He's always focused. It was business."

The 220-pound division was considered one of the most competitive in Maine this season, and Chase defeated all the top wrestlers in that division.

At the New England championships, Chase defeated Class A champion Josh Andrews of Massabesic for the third time in two seasons.

In December, Chase pinned two-time Class C champion Zach Ragot of Washington Academy in the 220-pound final at the Noble Invitational in North Berwick.

While wrestling up in weight class, Chase also handed the only loss of the season to Brewer's Marcus Eaton, the Class A champion at 285 pounds.

"He has no fear," said Brandon Graffam, Chase's teammate and the Class B champion at 195 pounds. "He's like a honey badger. He doesn't care who he wrestles. He always gives 100 percent, no matter what. He's wrestled kids twice his size."

Chase, who stands 6 foot and weighs a little more than 200 pounds, wrestled up in weight in most of his matches.

"He's pretty light for 220," Rollins said. "He probably could have gone 195 this year, but he's the type of kid who doesn't care which weight class he's in. He just goes out and wrestles." 

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

Twitter: PaulBetitPPH


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