Oceanside High’s Maddie Ripley, top, leans down on Morse’s Sean Bonzagni during the 113-pound final at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships on Feb. 5. Ripley won the match, and also defeated Bonzagni last weekend at the Class B South championships. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Maddie Ripley knows she has a chance to make history Saturday at the Class B wrestling state championships, when she’ll try to become the first girl to win an individual state title in Maine. But she doesn’t sound stressed out about it.

“It doesn’t really put any pressure on me. It doesn’t really make me nervous,” said Ripley, a sophomore at Oceanside High.

Ripley is the fifth girl in Maine history to win a regional title in the open tournament, wrestling against mostly boys. She might be the most prepared of that group to actually break through and claim the state title.

This season, Ripley is 32-1 and already is the first girl to win a title at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships, which includes Class A powers such as Mt. Ararat/Brunswick and Oxford Hills. Her only loss was to Wynn Pooler of Erskine Academy, the Class B South champ at 106 pounds.

“The KVAC final is my favorite match, because I pinned him with 26 seconds left,” Ripley said, referring to her Feb. 5 victory against Sean Bonzagni of Morse. Ripley also beat Bonzagni in the South final – an 8-3 decision.

“We’ve got high hopes,” said Oceanside Coach Jason Yates, who is Ripley’s stepfather. “She’s obviously very talented, but we’re working on it.”


Likely standing in Ripley’s way, should she reach the state final, will be Mattanawcook Academy’s Deegan Tidswell, a state runner-up in the 106-pound class in 2020.

Asked if she thought she could beat Tidswell, Ripley said, “Yeah. I do.”

“I think it’s certainly a possibility,” Yates said. “The kid from Mattanawcook is very talented, but I do think there’s a possibility.”

The closest a girl has come to winning a state title was in 2005 when Marshwood’s Deanna Rix reached the final of the Class A 130-pound class, losing 2-1 in overtime to Sanford’s Shane Leadbetter. At the time, Rix was trying to become the first girl in the country to win a state championship. The next year, Alaska’s Michaela Hutchison did it.

Deanna Rix Betterman went on to wrestle against women internationally, placing twice in the world championships.

The last girl to win a regional title was Oak Hill junior Zoe Buteau in 2018 when she claimed the Class B South 120-pound title. Buteau did not place in the state meet that year, nor as a senior the following season.

Reaha Goyetche of York was the first girl to win a regional title when she took the Western Class B 103-pound title in 2007. Two Camden Hills wrestlers – Logan Rich (2009, 103 pounds) and Hilary Merrifield (2014, 106 pounds) also won regional crowns in Eastern Class B.

Gavin Ripley, Maddie’s twin brother, won the 126-pound regional title with a 6-1 overtime win against Dan Marquis of Wells.

“We’re hoping that Maddie’s brother wins, too,” Yates said. “It would be a very good day for our family, for sure, if they both win.”

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