HOWLAND — Sixty female wrestlers from across Maine made history Wednesday as they competed in the first girls’ wrestling state tournament at Penobscot Valley High School.

“It means a lot being part of the first girls’ state tournament,” said Deering’s Brooke Birkhahn, who won the 145-pound division.

Birkhahn earned a 10-6 decision over Madeline Tardif of Nokomis in the finals and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.

“It means a lot. I was really surprised when they called me up for (the award),” said Birkhahn.

Deering Coach Ryan Hutchins was thrilled to see Birkhahn climb to the top of the podium.

“I’m so proud of the effort that she put in today,” Hutchins said. “She wrestled a tough opponent in the finals. It was a great match, and to have her come out on top, I’m just so proud of her.


Zoe Buteau of Lisbon/Oak Hill became the first champion when she opened the finals with a pin of Mt. View’s Emma Fonger in the 132-pound class.

Buteau, a senior, was perhaps the most experienced wrestler in the tournament, having qualified for the Class B state championships three times while wrestling against boys. She was the Class B South 120-pound champion last year.

“It’s been pretty amazing just seeing everybody together as one,” said Buteau. “Honestly, it meant a lot, because for my senior project, I was going to try to push something like this. … Having this tournament and having it actually be sanctioned just feels amazing.”

Falmouth’s Anunthaya MacDonnell pinned Madison’s Taylor Tillinghast in the 120-pound final.

MacDonnell, who trains with the Portland/South Portland team, hopes the new tournament will help bring more girls out for the sport.

“Today was exciting. I think now that we have a girls’ state tournament sanctioned, it will be really good for the future (of girls’ wrestling),” said MacDonnell.

Dexter had two champions – Aliviah Anderson at 106 and Autumn Irwin at 182. Anderson defeated Erskine Academy’s Kristin Ray, and Irwin scored a 4-1 decision over MCI’s Shelby Ostrowski.

Other champions were Kristina Kelly of Camden Hills at 113 pounds, Elizabeth Bernier of Bucksport at 160, and Chloe Kirschmann of Caribou at 220.

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