NORTH BERWICK — It was a day for redemption, fresh starts and most of all perseverance at the Class A wrestling championships Saturday.
Marshwood came in as a heavy favorite to win its third straight team title and got it done, scoring 179 points to outdistance Massabesic (127), Skowhegan (117.5) and Noble (84.5).
The Hawks were led by the repeat championships of juniors Cody Hughes (160), Jackson Howarth (152) and Brett Gerry (182). Hughes and Howarth are three-time champs.
Eastern Maine had three individual champs and two came from a Skowhegan family.
Freshman Cody Craig stopped Portland senior Kidayer Aljubyly’s bid for a second state title, winning the 106-pound final, 3-1. His older brother Tyler won his second state title, moving up to 120 pounds and earning a 16-1 tech fall against Josh Marks of Marshwood.
Edward Little’s Sheldon Bang, an independent wrestler who trains with Oxford Hills, mauled the competition in the 132-pound class, beating Julian Sirois of Skowhegan 7-3 in the final.
Marshwood was sparked by surprise contributions, notably from 145-pound champ Shamus McManus, a senior who toiled for three years on the junior varsity and ended the day as the most outstanding wrestler.
“I was hoping for fourth today and then I got outstanding wrestler and won the tournament. Everything went right today,” McManus said.
McManus showed his ability to stick with something as he hung in until the final seconds to crack Kaleb Brown of Skowhegan 7-6 with a late takedown in the semifinal, then beat Zac Richard of Massabesic in overtime, 5-3.
Richard was penalized two separate points for stalling as the third period wound down, which forced overtime.
“The more you contribute to the team, the better,” McManus said. “I mean, everyone contributes. The kids we practice with who don’t necessarily get mat time out in the public, they help us get better. Then the kids who win matches. Then the kids who actually win tournaments. Yeah, it feels great to win.”
McManus’ win was quickly followed by Howarth beating Noble’s Joe Grenier, 7-4.
“The hard work we put in practice. Three hours every single day is the biggest reason for our success,” Howarth said. “And definitely the JVs from last year stepping up. Shamus McManus was a no-name and look at him now. He’s a state champion.”
Hughes followed with a pin of Skowhegan’s Logan Stevens in 1:06 to improve to 46-0 this year and 143-6 overall. He has not lost to a wrestler from Maine since his freshman year.
He and all of the top four finishers advance to Thursday’s all-class New England qualifier, which will be held at 9:30 a.m. at Nokomis High.
Gerry took down Skowhegan’s Mikal Federici in the 182 final, 7-0.
Marshwood’s first individual title came from freshman Bradley Beaulieu with a fierce 3-0 win against Noble freshman Austin Shorey at 113.
Like McManus, seniors Robie Martin of Bonny Eagle and Andrew Moriarty of Sanford were rewarded for sticking with a grueling sport with their first state title.
Martin’s came at 170 pounds and took three overtimes before he could overcome Malik Geiger of Oxford Hills, 3-2.
“My brother (Stevie Martin) and I have been training forever. He’s been winning state championships and ever since I was young I wanted to do it,” Martin said. “And it happened my senior year. We got a football championship and now I’ve got a wrestling championship.”
Moriarty decisioned Nic Benner of Cony 3-0 in the final.
For Massabesic senior Tyler Everett, his junior teammate Mike Risti, and Biddeford junior Dominick Day it was a day of championship success after bitter defeats in previous seasons.
Everett was runner-up last year, losing a late two-point lead when Cheverus’ Iain Whitis pulled off a takedown to near fall for an 11-8 win. Against Marshwood’s Eric Glidden, who had already pulled two upsets, Everett took no chances with a third-period pin.
“It fueled me,” Everett said of the loss. “I’m pretty psyched right now. I worked really hard. It makes it all worth it right now.”
It was Everett’s second state title.
Day was similarly convincing, pinning Cony’s Zeko Caudill at 2:41. He had lost in the final as a freshman and sophomore.
Jordan Drain of Massabesic decisioned Pierce Knorr of Mt. Ararat 7-2 in the 285-pound final.
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at:firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: SteveCCraig