1. Noble: This could be the year the Knights upend four-time defending Class A champ Marshwood for supremacy in the South. Eight of the 14 spots will be filled by experienced, quality wrestlers from a team that finished second in Class A last season. The Knights are led by reigning 120-pound state champ Austin Shorey, who might bump up to 126. Shorey, Jake Martel (132) and Joshua Grenier (152/160) are all juniors who have eclipsed 100 career wins. Shorey and senior Otto Keisker (160/170) are arguably among the top 10 wrestlers in the state.

2. Marshwood: Despite losing state champions Cody Hughes (four titles), Jackson Howarth (four) and Brett Gerry (three) to graduation, don’t sleep on the Hawks. Brad Beaulieu, a junior, is the state champ at 126 and is coming off a 51-1 New England finalist season. State 132-pound champion Aidan Whitis has joined the team for his senior season after competing at Cheverus. Justin Stacy, another senior leader, won the 152-pound title. Sophomore Kyle Glidden (120), juniors Connor LaPointe and Matt Caverly, and senior Eric Glidden (138) are battle tested.

3. Massabesic: The Mustangs were fourth in Class A last year and opened the season by finishing second to Skowhegan in the Westbrook Invitational. The top returners are Class A champion Trevor Walton, a patient tactician at 195 pounds, and Leo Amabile, who was third at 106 pounds. Logan Martin is another veteran ready to stake his claim as a champion at either 152 or 160. Justin Goodwin (120), Ethan Huff (126), Zac McGrath (170), Noah Schneider (182) and Matthew Carroll (220) placed in the top four at the Westbrook tourney.

4. Westbrook: The Blue Blazes, along with Sanford and possibly Biddeford, could be the fourth-best team in the SMAA and possibly crack the top three in Class A North. Five returning wrestlers placed at the regional meet, and all could end up remaining at their previous weight – seniors Brandon Lajoie (second in the East at 182), Kyle Hanson (145/152), Noah Featherson (160/170) and Mikiel Lepage (220), and sophomore Ryan Shackley (106). Heavyweight Chris Kennie went to states as an alternate and is off to a 6-0 start.

5. Wells: The Warriors lack a top-end talent like two-time state champ Michael Curtis (now at Worcester Polytechnic Institute), but they have a rising team that should fill most of the weights. Wells could compete for a top-three finish at the Class B state meet. Sophomore Michael Wrigley should be a contender at 152, and Cullen Cummings (126), Caleb Chase (132), and Jake Spofford (170/182) also placed at last year’s regional meet. Sophomore Nolan Potter (182/195) had more than 20 wins as a freshman.

– Steve Craig

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