NEWPORT — James Boyd is one of the more confident high school wrestlers you’ll find. The Nokomis Regional High School senior is the defending Class A state champion at 220-pounds. He knows what he can do on the mat.

Boyd is also smart enough to know, the second he stops working his butt off, it can go away.

“I was never really good. I just kind of stuck with it,” Boyd said Saturday afternoon, as he waited to compete in the semifinals of the Warrior Clash at Nokomis.

Boyd won the 220-pound title Saturday afternoon, beating Jeffrey Worster of Oxford Hills. It was the second time the two have met this season. Worster beat Boyd in a meet at Mt. Blue High School earlier this season by a single point. Late in the second round of Saturday’s match, it looked as if Worster would go 2 for 2 against Boyd, leading 6-4 on points.

Boyd was able to flip Worster and get him in a headlock to earn the pin and win the match. While Boyd celebrated, Worster lay on the mat in disbelief. A few minutes later, Boyd still didn’t know exactly what he did to win the match.

“I don’t know how I did it. I felt like my body needed to go, so I went with it and it worked out,” Boyd said.

In the 220-pound weight class, the Warrior Clash was considered to be a possible state championship match preview between Boyd and Worster of Oxford Hills. Both cruised to Saturday’s final. Worster pinned Mt. Blue’s John Howard with 37.8 seconds left in the first round. Boyd finished his match with Nolan Degroot of Dirigo even faster, pinning with 1:03 left in the match. Boyd and Degroot circled each other briefly before collapsing to the mat, where Boyd put Degroot in a headlock and held steady until the referee slapped the mat to signal the match was over.

“James has put a lot of work in. He’s done a lot of work in the weight room, a lot of work wrestling,” Nokomis coach Scott Preble said. “He’s just a working class athlete.”

For Boyd, this senior season of wrestling is an extension of not just the success he enjoyed last winter, but the success he helped create as a leader of Nokomis’ Class C state championship-winning football team. An all-Big 11 Conference defensive lineman, Boyd was nominated for the Gaziano Trophy, awarded annually to the top offensive and defensive lineman in the state.

“I’m still really humbled to be nominated along with all those great athletes,” Boyd said.

Skills honed in wrestling translate to the football field, Boyd said, and vice versa.

“Body control is a big one. In takedowns, a double leg takedown and a tackle are similar in a lot of senses,” Boyd, who also throws for the Nokomis track and field team in the spring, said.

Despite being a three-season athlete, Boyd considers himself first and foremost a wrestler. He took up the sport in fifth grade. Boyd didn’t see himself as a championship-caliber wrestler until his sophomore year, when he won the regional title. That’s when wrestling became his number one sport.

“Hey, this is pretty good,” Boyd remembered thinking. “I kind of like this.”

By his junior season, Boyd saw the time in the weight room pay off in a dominant season. He’s almost apologetic when he talks about how easy his matches felt on the day of the state championships in Sanford.

“I don’t mean to sound cocky, but I rolled through the competition at that state meet,” Boyd said. “Thirty second pins all around.”

Before he became the top wrestler at 220-pounds, Boyd was one of the smaller wrestlers in the 285-pound class, competing at 235-pounds. Losing 15 pounds to get to the smaller class wasn’t a big deal, Boyd said. At 220, Boyd and Worster may have a budding rivalry. After Saturday’s win, Boyd knew there’s a strong chance he and Worster, who moved up from 195-pounds this season, will face each other again in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship, and the regional finals, and even states.

“He has my number. I have his. We’re going to clash in the future and it’s going to be good,” Boyd said.

Already an individual state champ is wrestling and a team champion in football, Boyd would like to add one more wrestling title to his list of accomplishments. Being a part of the first Nokomis team to win a gold ball in football was special, he said.

“It gives some fuel to the fire. I’m looking forward to battling my way to another state title,” Boyd said. “I’d like to have three in total. It helps me appreciate winning, and I want to keep that going.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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.

filed under: