Gavin Ripley, right, of Oceanside High wrestles Dyllan Davis of Wells during the 132-pound Class B state championship match in Rumford on Feb. 17. Ripley won by decision, 6-0. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Gavin Ripley knows his own wrestling achievements have been overshadowed. But he wouldn’t change the reason that’s happened.

Gavin Ripley

Ripley’s twin sister, Maddie, made history by becoming the first girl in Maine to win a state championship wrestling against boys, then backed it up with her second state title this season. Gavin was winning matches and titles at an even higher rate, but his triumphs were often summed up as, “Oh yeah, Gavin Ripley won, too.”

Gavin was never jealous of his sister’s success – “I hope there are more stories just about Maddie. I love to read them, too,” he said – but …

“I did use it for motivation, just trying to get an achievement that stands out more. Whenever I was tired in practice, I’d think, ‘I need to win this state championship to finally get noticed,'” said Ripley, a senior at Oceanside High in Rockland.

With a summer of increased training and wrestling-intensive trips to Nebraska, Colorado and North Dakota behind him, Ripley earned his own accolades this season.

He went 48-0 against in-state opponents, won his third straight Class B championship and second straight at 132 pounds, and then claimed his second New England Qualifier all-state crown. He carried that momentum into the New England championships and went 4-1 to place third – the best result by a Maine wrestler.


When it came time to pick the 2024 Varsity Maine Boys’ Wrestler of the Year, Ripley was the overwhelming choice of coaches surveyed in both Class A and B.

For a young man who grew up around wrestling, it’s a meaningful achievement. He watched his older siblings, Shannon, who wrestled at Oceanside and Husson University, and Ben compete in youth tournaments, and saw his twin’s star rise. Now, his own efforts are being recognized.

“It feels like all my hard work paid off,” Gavin said. “All those days when I could have taken the day off and I didn’t, it paid off.”

Ripley finished his career with an overall record of 151-9, going 144-4 in Maine. Considering he had only four in-state losses his first two years, Ripley was already competing at a high level. But he thought he could be better by increasing his focus and emphasis on wrestling in the summer, something he hadn’t done previously because he, like Maddie, is a three-sport athlete. Gavin also plays football and baseball.

Ripley took part in the annual Maine-Nebraska wrestling exchange last summer. From Nebraska, he went directly to a weeklong freestyle/Greco-Roman wrestling session in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at the Betterman Elite Wrestling Camp, run by former Marshwood High standout Deanna Rix Betterman and her husband, Joe Betterman. From Colorado, he went to North Dakota and competed in the Fargo Nationals for the first time.

“Especially because it was the first time I ever wrestled freestyle and Greco, I was getting smoked by some of those kids,” Ripley said. “It humbled me and reminded me just don’t overlook anyone. One thing I learned, as soon as you get a takedown, you go to another move. It just helped me with transition wrestling for folkstyle.”


Two days after the football season ended last fall – Ripley was a receiver and starting middle linebacker on a team that advanced to the Class C state championship game – wrestling practice began.

“Because I went to Colorado, I was in that wrestling mindset,” Gavin said.

“He gave up four offensive points all season (in Maine),” said Oceanside Coach Jason Yates, who is Gavin’s stepfather. “He pushes himself every day and he has a gas tank like no one else. He’s a smart, technical wrestler, always in good position. Every scramble, he comes out on top.”

At the New England championships, Ripley’s only loss of the season came in the semifinals to eventual champion David Perez, the Rhode Island state champion. Ripley beat Massachusetts all-state runner-up Brent Von Magnus and Connecticut state champ Deydan Soto to reach the semifinals, then beat them both again in the consolation bracket.

“The way he wrestled (at New Englands) was phenomenal,” said Shawn St. Cyr, Lincoln Academy’s coach. “He took down Soto from Danbury and he beat him twice, and (the 132-pound division) was stacked. … His march to third place was pretty amazing.”

Ripley, who has a 97.8 GPA and is ranked eighth in his class, plans to wrestle and study maritime engineering systems at Maine Maritime Academy. The school’s club wrestling team will transition to varsity status next year.

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