The Maine Principals’ Association will sanction a team dual state championship for the first time this season.

In the past, only a tournament for individuals was held, with points scored by each wrestler contributing to the overall team score.  Dual meet tournaments will be held for Class A and B with eight schools competing in each tournament, four in the North and four in the South. Heal points will determine the participants.

There will be eight-team brackets in Class A and B to determine the state champion.

Skowhegan Area High School will host the Class A tournament and Penobscot Valley High School will host the B tournament. The dual state championships will be held a week after individual champs will be crowned.

Skowhegan coach Tenney Noyes likes the change.

“It will bring excitement and pride to the overall team aspect of wrestling,” he said.

Skowhegan returns a talented group of young wrestlers and should bounce back as a dual meet team after a down year last season. Robert Davies is the lone senior on the squad, while Brayden Doucette was a state qualifier.

Cony coach Shawn Totman, whose teams traditionally fare well in dual meet competition, supports the change as well.

“This should add an element of excitement over the course of the season because now a team’s dual meet record is important whereas in the past there has been an emphasis on tournaments a team competes in,” Totman said. “Coaches, wrestlers and fans will also be able to monitor the Heal point system being put in place to see where they rank against other teams. Hopefully, this generates enthusiasm for a team as they look at how they have done in matches, who they will face in upcoming meets, and what other teams are doing in the standings.”

Cony returns state champion Aaron Lettre and third-place finisher Ahmad Ahmad, as well as state qualifiers Casey Mills and Mohammad Aljendi.

Erskine has a new coach in Rick Hussey, who takes over from the retired Patrick Vigue.

Vigue coached for 24 years and finished with more than 300 wins.

“It’s been a special honor to be able to coach alongside Pat,” said Hussey. “He and I have a lot of wrestling history together. We were former high school teammates (at Winslow High School) and coached together for more than 20 seasons. Coach Vigue put Erskine wrestling on the map and I plan to carry on the tradition. The wrestling community and I certainly will miss him mat side.”

For his part, Vigue is extremely happy to have Hussey take the reins of the Eagle program.

Added Vigue: “Rick’s love and passion for the sport is obvious. I always considered us to be more like co-coaches. We have basically the same philosophy and he is better than I ever was at the technical aspects of wrestling.”

Erskine is led by state place-winner Isaak Peavey and state qualifier Jake Emond.

While all area teams may not contend for the team tournament title, there will be plenty of wrestlers who will be in contention for honors at the individual state tournament.

Mount View senior Mark Ward looks to add to an impressive list of career credentials. Ward already has two Class B state championship titles to his credit and won the all-state New England Qualifier Tournament last season. His brother Zachary, a junior, won a state title as a freshman.

Winslow had two state placewinners last season. Alex Demers went to the finals, placing second and Sam Schmitt placed fourth.

Mt. Blue junior Tucker Nicholas placed second at the Class A meet last season and third at the qualifier. Hunter Nile and John Howard were also state qualifiers for the Cougars.

Nokomis returns Tyler Preble, who was a Class A North champion and placed third at the state meet last season.

Maine Central Institute’s Cole Steeves was second in Class B South while Kahlden Briggs also qualified for the state meet.

Junior Connor Bell was a state qualifier for Gardiner last season. Oak Hill’s Christian St. Hillaire qualified for states as part of the Lisbon/Oak Hill cooperative team.

Matt Kennard and Clarke Leblanc qualified for Madison, as did Evan Hasenfus for Monmouth.

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