Maddie Ripley smiles while warming up for a match at the girls’ individual state wrestling championships in February. Ripley was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament, three days after winning the 106-pound title at the Class B state championships while wrestling against boys. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Maddie Ripley made history. Simple as that.

Ripley, a junior at Oceanside High in Rockland, became the first girl in Maine to win an individual state wrestling championship while wrestling against boys when she pinned Nick Allen of Wells in the final of the Class B 106-pound division.

Ripley also won the 107-pound title at the girls’ state championships and then placed fourth at the New England Qualifier – losing in overtime in the consolation final to Preston Garland of Mt. Blue in a match that determined the third and final qualifying spot for the New England championships.

“I was close, but I guess I’ve still got next year. I was sad, but at the same time, I obviously really wanted to wrestle there and it went into overtime, and then Preston beat me,” said Ripley, who lives in Owls Head.

Ripley had a 44-5 record this season. Two of the losses were at 113 pounds. Her only losses at 106 were to Class A runner-up Brody Simons of Hampden Academy and twice to Garland at the New England Qualifier.

Ripley is the clear choice to be the 2023 Varsity Maine Girls’ Wrestler of the Year, an award she also won as a sophomore.


“I have so much respect for her,” said Noble senior Derek Cote, the Boys’ Wrestler of the Year and a three-time state champion. “The reality is a girl is just naturally not going to be as strong as a high school boy, so to have success, they have to work extra hard. When you have somebody like Maddie accomplish something that great, then props to her.”

Ripley comes from a wrestling family. Her stepfather is Oceanside Coach Jason Yates. Her sister, Shannon, was a national collegiate champion at Husson University. Her twin brother, Gavin, is a two-time Class B champion. Maddie has been wrestling against boys since her preschool days.

As a sophomore, she showed her talent, becoming the first girl to a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship, then just the fifth girl in Maine to win a regional championship, taking the Class B South 113-pound title. She was runner-up at the Class B state meet.

Knowing a state championship was attainable, Ripley made a concerted effort to eat a healthier diet so she could drop one weight class. She added more strength training during the season. Now, her sights are set on taking another step as a senior.

“This year, I didn’t really lift until right before the season, and we’ve been doing lifting whenever we can,” Ripley said. “I’ve been the same weight since seventh grade, so hopefully I can go 113 or 106 next year, whatever I feel I can get the furthest in, which will probably be 106 again. It depends on how big I go into the season.”

Ripley is among a select group of Maine girls who have reached a state final.


Deanna Rix of Marshwood in 2005 was vying to become the first girl in the nation to win a state title against boys when she lost 2-1 to Shane Leadbetter of Sanford in the Class A 130-pound final. Leadbetter worked an escape with four seconds left in the second sudden-victory overtime.

In 2006, Alaska’s Michaela Hutchison became the first girl to win a state title against boys. In Maine that year, Camden Hills sophomore Kristi Pearse went to overtime before losing the Class B 103-pound final. Pearse was second again in 2007. Noble’s Kayleigh Longley was second in Class A at 103 pounds in 2009 and 2011.

“Just the fact that it took so long tells you how rare it is,” said Yates. “It’s not every day someone that talented comes out, so it is a special accomplishment.”

Lisa Nowak Wilkins of Mt. Ararat in Topsham was the first girl in Maine to challenge the status quo that essentially shut girls out of high school wrestling, eventually filing a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission that paved the way for Maine to become the 20th state to approve co-ed wrestling.

Nowak Wilkins was a coach at Hyde School in 2005 and was at the Augusta Civic Center rooting for Rix. Eighteen years later, she was at the Maine girls’ tournament posing for a photo with Ripley.

“After Deanna came so close, I never thought it would take this long for a girl to win a state title,” Nowak Wilkins said.

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