Erskine Academy senior Brenden Wood hasn’t been able to wrestle this season, but he received a much-anticipated letter recently.

That letter informed Wood he had been accepted into the United States Military Academy at West Point. Wood, ranked seventh out of 180 in his class, has all the traits necessary to succeed at West Point, according to Erskine coach Pat Vigue.

“He’s smart, athletic, determined to succeed, and is dedicated to his team,” Vigue said. “I can’t think of a more deserving young man to get into West Point. I’m sure he will serve our country well.”

Wood placed third in the Eastern A regional last season but suffered a knee injury on the first day of practice this winter that required immediate surgery.

“It was definitely the biggest disappointment of my high school career,” Wood said. “Wrestling is my favorite sport, and I had been training hard for my senior year throughout high school.

Wood has also played soccer, ran cross-country and played on the baseball team. He has also run two half-marathons.

Wood succinctly defined his reasons for applying to West Point.

“The discipline it provides, and its principles of duty, honor and country are what attracted me the most,” he said.

Wood has a love for languages and is currently enrolled in Advanced Placement Spanish, Russian and German courses at Erskine Academy. He plans to continue these studies in college. He also wants to serve his country.

“I wanted to serve the United States in any capacity,” he said. “I also wanted to study linguistics and foreign languages. West Point will provide the training I need to serve America, while at the same time I will be able to study linguistics.”

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Madison Area Memorial High School sent two wrestlers to the championship finals and had four others earn medals at the Mid-State League tournament. Cody Soucier (145) and Ryan Malcolm (220) each finished second, while Derrin Moreshead (160) and Kyle Foley (170) were third. Joe Hayden (182) and Matt McLaughlin (195) placed fourth.

“Some of our guys didn’t reach their goals and some wrestled their best matches of the year,” Madison coach Scot Padelford said. “We wrestled tough the whole day. I’m really proud of Joe Hayden and Matt McLaughlin. They usually give up 10-15 pounds to their opponent, but they give 100 percent all the time.”

Dirigo High School won the eight-team tournament, which was comprised of both Class B and Class C schools. Madison placed sixth.

Monmouth Academy was awarded the team sportsmanship award. Alex Turbide was third at 120 pounds while James Gambino placed third at 132 pounds.

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Nokomis Regional High School made the biggest improvement from last year to this year at the KVAC tournament. The Warriors finished sixth Saturday, after finishing 18th last season.

Nokomis filled just nine of the 14 weight classes Saturday, but had four place-winners. Zack McFarlin (182) and Jacob Nichols (285) finished third while Jonathan Crocker (126) and Robbie Hamburger (106) were fourth.

“The team has had a resurgence in numbers (of team members) over the last couple of years,” said Nokomis athletic director Jason Tardy.

Tardy added that more numbers mean that Nokomis coach Scott Preble can run a more effective practice, since wrestlers can work out with others close to their own weight. Tardy sees even more success in the years ahead.

“Scott has a great feeder program at the lower levels and the program should be getting even stronger in the future,” Tardy said.

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Local teams will compete at one of six regional tournaments Saturday. The top four finishers in each weight class in each region will advance to the state championships the following week.

Cony, Erskine, Mt. Blue, Nokomis and Skowhegan will travel to Westbrook High School to compete in the Eastern A regional. Maine Central Institute will be at Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro for the Eastern B tournament. Gardiner and Oak Hill will compete in the Western B tournament hosted by York High School. Madison, Monmouth, Mt. View, Hall-Dale and Winslow will wrestle at Bucksport High School in the Western C regional. All tournaments are scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m.


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