The Skowhegan wrestling team showed that it is still a force to be reckoned with by winning the annual Nokomis Warrior Clash last weekend. The Indians scored 140 points to edge runner-up Dirigo (122 points) in the 14-team field. Cody Craig (113 pounds), Ricky Oberg (120), Samson Sirois (138), Cooper Holland (145) and Jon Bell (170) won individual titles.

Craig and Oberg also prevailed in their respective weight classes at the highly competitive Noble Tournament. Both remain undefeated for the season. Craig’s win was expected, but Oberg’s victory over Noble’s Joe Pilecki was not. Pilecki was a state runner-up in Class A last season, but Oberg rolled up a 17-2 technical fall to claim the gold medal.

The victory was a measure of how far Oberg, a junior, has progressed in a year. Last season, he finished the season a respectable 43-15, winning a regional title but failing to place in the state meet. This season he is 23-0 and has rarely been tested. Craig, who is Oberg’s workout partner in the wrestling room, isn’t surprised by the success.

“I personally would say his improvement is through the roof,” said Craig. “He is one of the most dedicated and hard-working kids I’ve met. He is consistently working in the offseason and doing everything in his power to better himself.”

Oberg credits his offseason work with paving the way for his success so far this season.

“I feel that being in the practice room with some of the best all throughout the offseason and wrestling in tournaments such as Virginia Beach National Duals and Maine-Nebraska Exchange have really given me the experience that has been much needed,” he said. “I traveled with Bob Craig, (father of Cody) who gave me the opportunity to be in these meets and who has given me practice opportunities since the summer before my freshman year. I consider that to be the biggest part of my recent success.”

Bob Craig is impressed by how far Oberg has come.

“He went from a JV wrestler to a regional champ in a year and now a Noble champ,” Craig said. “He’s a tough kid that doesn’t have a ton of natural athleticism but has a great work ethic and self-belief.”

Oberg will look to continue his tournament success on Saturday when Skowhegan hosts the 12-team Skowhegan Invitational. The action is scheduled to begin around 9 a.m.

• • •

Madison junior Seth Padelford is off to a strong start this season, winning Mountain Valley, MCI and Nokomis tournaments to sit at 18-0. Whether or not Padelford would even wrestle this season was uncertain until a few weeks before the season, according to his coach and father, Scot Padelford.

Although he began wrestling at 5-years-old, he has been plagued by injuries in high school, which led him to doubt whether or not he should continue in the sport.

A hyper-extended elbow that ultimately required surgery forced him to miss his freshmen year. Another injury ended his sophomore campaign.

“At the beginning of his sophomore year he was wrestling very well and confidently, not showing any concern for his elbow,” said Padelford.

But then he dislocated his clavicle during a match.

“This injury was much more severe,” said Padelford. “He ended up missing 38 days of school and had to go to Boston Children’s Hospital for surgery. His clavicle was putting pressure on his carotid artery.”

Padelford was cleared to return to sports this fall and became the goalkeeper on the varsity soccer team. “He had an excellent season giving up only six goals all regular season with 11 shutouts,” said Coach Padelford. “But, he still was not 100 percent positive he was going to wrestle. He decided to compete only two or three weeks before the season started.”

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