WELLS — Michael Curtis has already accomplished a lot in wrestling.

The Wells High senior has won two Class B championships. As a junior he went to Maine’s inaugural New England qualifier tournament and emphasized that he was the best 195-pound wrestler in the state by winning that tournament, too, pinning Class A champ Mike Risti of Massabesic in the semifinal.

Then he went to the New England championships and came up one-point shy of being in the final, losing to eventual champion Joe Chimelski of Nashua North, 3-2.

So why does he keep working, practicing in the offseason and traveling to Virginia and New Jersey to get in extra wrestling matches?

“It’s really hard to be really good without practice,” Curtis said.

Curtis paused for a second and added for clarification: “Not to say that I am really good. I don’t want to sound cocky. But if you want to be really good, you’ve got to put the practice in. Which is what I’m trying to do.”

In fact, Curtis is one of several very good wrestlers returning to the Maine mats this season. Most have taken similar paths, melding extensive year-round training with out-of-state competition to hone their craft.

Eleven of the 14 winners at the New England qualifier are eligible to wrestle this season, though Kaleb Brown of Skowhegan and 2013 New England champ Peter Del Gallo of Gardiner are expected to miss the entire season due to injuries.

“These kids are putting the time in offseason and looking past the state tournament,” said Marshwood Coach Matt Rix, who has four returning state champions, including three-time champs Cody Hughes and Jackson Howarth. Hughes recently signed a national letter of intent to wrestle at Virginia Tech.

Hughes, Curtis and Del Gallo are among the Maine wrestlers who have competed in the annual postseason national tournament in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Hughes won the national sophomore title two years ago, and Curtis was fifth at 170 pounds after his freshman season.

Not surprisingly, those three have also excelled at the New England championships. That used to be a rarity for Maine wrestlers but last year Hughes was runner-up at 160 pounds, Del Gallo and Marshwood sophomore Bradley Beaulieu were fifth and sixth at 113 pounds, Biddeford’s Dominick Day placed sixth at 138 and Howarth (152) and Risti (195) each won three matches and fell one win shy of a top-six finish.

Day is atypical among that group in that he rarely travels outside of Biddeford to wrestle. Instead he trains extensively throughout the summer, usually wrestling against adults, said his high school coach, Steve Vermette.

Curtis has a 128-13 career record entering the season, with nine of his losses coming as a freshman at 170 pounds.

As a sophomore, Curtis rolled through the Class B competition but lost both of his matches at the New England championships.

“He lost two really close matches that year,” said Wells Coach Scott Lewia. “I asked him what the difference was and he said, ‘They’re stronger than me.’ He started doing all the cross-fit stuff, all the unorthodox lifting and he’s just so powerful now.”

Curtis probably will wrestle at 220 pounds this season. He weighs about 218 pounds now, he said.

That means Curtis will probably get in a few bouts against Risti and perhaps a dual meet match against Marshwood’s two-time 182-pound champion Brett Gerry. Curtis was 2-0 against Risti and 1-1 against Gerry, his only loss to a Maine wrestler in a 50-2 junior season.

“Going against those guys is great,” Curtis said. “If I didn’t have them I wouldn’t have the competition I need during the season.”

Exposure to better wrestlers and year-round conditioning have added mental and physical strength to Curtis’ frame but he has maintained the ability to move like a slightly undersized 170-pounder.

“He wrestles like a lightweight in the bigger divisions,” Lewia said. “He uses moves that most bigger guys don’t. He has quickness with a lot of knowledge. He’s a strong kid and he’s a tremendous worker.”

Apparently in the classroom, too. Curtis is being actively recruited to wrestle at Division III Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Before he gets to college, he wants to add to his high school wrestling resume.

“Last year I lost to the New England champ by one point and then he went on to beat the guy in the final, 7-1,” Curtis said. “I try not to think about that match because it still (upsets) me.”

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at [email protected]

Twitter: SteveCCraig