Oceanside High’s Maddie Ripley, top, defeated Morse’s Sean Bonzagni in the 113-pound final at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships on Feb. 5. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Whether it’s been her twin brother or the vast majority of her competitors, Maddie Ripley has wrestled against boys for so long that she actually prefers going up against male competitors.

“It’s definitely different wrestling girls and boys,” said the 15-year-old Oceanside High sophomore. “I just grew up wrestling boys, so this is what I’d like to do more.”

An official holds up the arm of Oceanside’s Maddie Ripley after she beat Belfast’s Ryker Evans in the 113-pound semifinals at the Class B wrestling state meet. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Ripley is also used to beating the boys. In her first season of high school wrestling, she posted a 42-4 record. Competing in the 113-pound weight class, she became the first girl to win an individual title at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference meet and the fifth girl to capture a Maine regional title when she won the Class B South tournament. She also was the 113-pound champ at the girls’ individual tournament.

For those reasons, Ripley is the 2022 Varsity Maine Girls’ Wrestler of the Year.

“I was not expecting it to go this well this season,” Ripley said. “I was hoping to win KVAC, and then when I did, it just went really well from there.”

After taking the regional title, Ripley was one win away from making even more history on two more occasions.


At the Class B state meet, Ripley pinned her first two opponents and became the third girl in Maine wrestling history to reach a state final. In the championship match, Mattanawcook Academy senior Deegan Tidswell pinned Ripley in the first period.

“I think I wrestled good but that kid was really strong,” Ripley said of Tidswell. “But I won’t have to see him (again) because he’s a senior.”

The following week at the New England Qualifier, her goal was to finish in the top three to qualify for the New England championships. Ripley won her first match before losing in the semifinal to Class A champion and eventual NEQ winner Ayden Cofone of Windham/Gray-New Gloucester/Westbrook. Cofone, a freshman, would go on to place fifth at the New England championships.

Ripley won her first consolation match but lost the third-place bout, 7-1, to Massabesic’s Nicholas Chenard, the Class A South champion.

In between the state and NEQ events where all of her matches were against boys, Ripley won the girls’ individual tournament at 113 pounds with a technical fall against Lilly Lebel of Mt. Ararat/Brunswick.

Oceanside Coach Jason Yates, who is Ripley’s stepfather, said Ripley’s tenacity is what sets her apart.


“She just hates losing. I can’t say she’s the best at any particular move. She’s just super aggressive and wants to win everything,” Yates said. “There were some wrestlers that she beat that might have been slightly better than her and she kept attacking, attacking.”

Ripley and her twin brother, Gavin, the Class B and NEQ champion at 126 pounds, are the youngest members of a blended, wrestling family. They have a training facility including wrestling mats in the family barn. Maddie Ripley said she started competing when she was 4.

Older siblings Ben and Shannon Ripley also wrestled at Oceanside. Shannon, who is seven years older than Maddie, won the National Collegiate Wrestling Association 143-pound championship in 2018 while competing for Husson University.

Ripley is a three-sport athlete. She plays center midfield in field hockey and pitches or plays second base in softball. She said each sport helps with conditioning and coordination when it comes time to wrestle.

“I’m hoping to win states next year and then just hope to go to the New England championships,” Ripley said.

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