WINDHAM — The gymnasium went dark. A single fixture lit up the center mat at Windham High. A capacity crowd roared.

The final round of the Class A wrestling state championship was about to begin, but the outcome already had been decided.

It was Marshwood in a runaway. Seven of its 14 qualifiers reached the finals, giving the Hawks their first state title since moving up from Class B in 2000.

Not that they coasted through a pressure-free final.

“I wouldn’t say no pressure at all,” said Tyler Davidson, who won 4-0 at 113 pounds for his third individual state championship. “I was still going out there with the mindset to win. Four-time state champion is my goal.”

Minutes after Davidson’s victory, freshman teammates Jackson Howarth and Cody Hughes got started on their own such quest. Howarth pinned Biddeford’s Dominick Day to win the 132-pound title and Hughes beat Skowhegan’s Kaleb Brown 8-2 at 138 pounds.

“That says a lot for the program,” said Matt Rix, in his 27th year as head coach at Marshwood. “Those guys have been in the program since kindergarten. They do a lot of off-season work and both of their dads are on our coaching staff.”

Hughes was named outstanding wrestler of the meet. He switched weight classes with Nick Janes for the tournament after wrestling much of the season at 145 pounds.

Janes wound up winning Marshwood’s fourth individual state title with a 9-4 victory over Carter Stevens of Skowhegan in the 145 final.

“I’m ecstatic. I can’t even express the feeling,” Janes said.

“I was more excited about the team title because that’s what we’ve been working toward all season. To win the individual is just a bonus.”

The four Marshwood champions raised the final victory total to 167 points, far surpassing that of runner-up Massabesic (109 1/2 ).

“We wanted to win it and we wanted to win it by a lot,” Janes said. “So we expected to come in here and really blow it out of the water.”

Skowhegan and Mt. Blue tied for third at 86 1/2, with Brewer and Cony tied for fifth at 56 and three-time defending state champion Noble in seventh at 51 1/2.

It marked the first time since Bonny Eagle’s 1997 championship that a school other than Noble or Massabesic walked away with the Class A title.

“It’s very, very special,” said Rix, whose son Matty’s initials (MTR) are emblazoned on the back of each Marshwood singlet, memorializing his death three years ago.

“It’s a motivating factor for these guys and for me,” he said. “We have a lot of pride any time we step out on that mat with his initials on the back of our singlet.”

Davidson wasn’t the only three-time champion crowned Saturday night. Ethan Gilman of Massabesic won the 126 title with a 7-2 decision over Trevor Smith of Marshwood after previously winning at 125 and 119 pounds. Gilman’s brother, Peter, was a two-time state champ.

The only other repeat champion was Jared Jensen of Brunswick, who edged Johnny Weymouth of Windham 3-2 at 152 pounds.

Winning their first state titles were Mt. Blue freshman Tyler Craig, a 3-2 victor in triple overtime against Elliot Allen of Marshwood at 106; Ian Whitis of Cheverus, a 4-3 winner over Lucas Dion of Massabesic at 120; and Graham Strondak of Westbrook, whose takedown at the edge of the circle with less than five seconds remaining gave him a 3-1 victory at 160 over Christian Jackson of Skowhegan.

“I knew if I took that last deep shot, something was going to break,” Strondak said. “It was a crazy good feeling to keep those two feet in (bounds) and pull it off.”

Caleb Farrington of Mt. Blue (170), Derek Vermette of Biddeford (182), Josh Andrews of Massabesic (220) and Victor Irwin (195) and Marcus Eaton (285) of Brewer also won individual titles.

“We worked all year for it,” Hughes said of the Marshwood title. “We just practice hard every day.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.