Winslow’s Sam Schmitt, front, pins Delani Rector of Morse to win a 132 pound match during the Westlake Tournament on Saturday in Bath. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The Westlake wrestling tournament on Saturday in Bath marked the first meet in masks for many teams, but Cony coach Shawn Totman said something else was standing out to him.

“I can tell you, there are a lot of out-of-shape kids,” he said. “Everyone’s a little rusty. We’re two years out, a year-and-a-half away from wrestling. But you can tell there’s a real energy level in the gym.”

While basketball and hockey got to have seasons and indoor track and swimming got to have some semblance of competition last year, wrestling was completely shelved aside from conditioning practice, which meant the athletes went a whole season without being able to hone their form and technique against other people.

On Saturday, Totman said, it was showing.

Cony’s Nathan SheÕd, top, and Mt. Ararat/Brunswick’s Hunter Thibeault compete in a 285 pound match during the Westlake Tournament on Saturday in Bath. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“Most of these kids haven’t practiced in a year-and-a-half, until two weeks ago, and it just takes a while to (get back),” Totman said. “Most kids have moves that they prefer, not every kid wrestles the same. Every kid reverts back to the things that they did a couple of years ago, but it’s not very crisp. It needs to be cleaned up. We’ve really emphasized the little things in our practices, keeping things kind of simple.”

Winslow senior Jack Dorval said he the long wait hasn’t hindered his technique much so far this season.

“It hasn’t really affected me, personally,” he said. “I can’t speak on other wrestlers, but for me it’s been a non-factor.”

Maine Central Institute sophomore Keith Cook, however, said he’s felt out of form to start.

“It does seem like there’s a lot more rust I have to knock off,” he said. “My parents and my coach have both been saying I need to slow it a lot more down.”

Mt. Ararat senior Shea Farrell said the same.

“I’m definitely rusty,” he said. “I’ve been doing a little bit in the offseason, other sports. So if you just keep moving, all of the moves will come back to you pretty naturally, pretty quickly.”

Rusty as they may be, Totman said it’s been just as exciting — if not more so — to see the athletes back in action.

“To see the kids beside the mat, cheering for each other, I can’t tell you how much I missed that,” Totman said. “Everybody is just relieved the sport we all love is back again.”

 

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The Winslow/Gardiner/Brewer/Messalonskee/Lawrence/Erskine Academy girls hockey team’s season is off to a better start than anyone could have anticipated.

The Black Tigers are 3-0, and have outscored opponents 24-3. Coach Bill Boardman knew his team had talent coming into the winter, he said, but this has been beyond his expectations.

“We’ve really had a lot of intensity in the first period,” he said. “Our goal has been to win that first period, get out to a quick start offensively, and that’s pretty much what we’ve been able to do at this point. … I’m a little bit surprised. I knew that we had some offensive power, that we could score some goals. I didn’t think we’d score as many goals as we are, but I’ll take it.”

Winslow/Gardiner/Brewer/Messalonskee/Lawrence/Erskine Academy goalie Emma Michaud, left, makes the glove save in front of Brunswick’s Lisa Palmer during a Nov. 27 game at The Camden National Bank Ice Vault in Hallowell. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The heart of the offensive output so far has been Kaylyn Bourque, who in the three games has 12 goals and two assists, many of which have come at the end of rushes started by the defensive tandem of Jordin Williams (seven assists) and Kylie Boardman (goal, three assists).

“Once she gets past any forward, she can get behind the defense,” Coach Boardman said. “When she shoots, she doesn’t miss often.”

 

• • •

 

The Augusta Civic Center on Tuesday will host a tip-off basketball event, with the Hall-Dale and Erskine boys playing at 3:30, the Waterville and Morse girls playing at 5, the Cony and Medomak Valley boys playing at 6:30 and the Cony and Falmouth girls playing at 8.

The tournament will have a family theme. Brothers T.J. and Ryan Maines coach the Cony boys and Morse girls, respectively, and in the 5 p.m. game Ryan Maines will coach against his niece Gabby, T.J.’s daughter and a senior forward for Waterville.

Ryan Maines said he hasn’t had a chance to see Gabby play much in her career, and is looking forward to seeing her in action Tuesday.

“When I heard that, I was very excited,” he said. “I have to wear a different hat. I’m an uncle, I’m a father, I’m a coach. When the game starts I do focus on my players, but I’ll be taking mental note of Gabby. … I want to have a conversation with her about the game and her contributions.”

Gabby Maines said it’ll be her first time going up against a family member.

“It should be pretty fun,” she said. “I’ve never played against anyone else in my family. Everyone’s always been coaching, but I’ve never had a chance to play against anyone.”

Gabby said she’s heard conversations between Ryan and T.J.

“He’s talked to my dad about it, and they sound pretty ready to play us,” she said. “It should be a good game. … It should be good for us. There are a lot of new people on our team, and not a lot of us have played together a lot. We’re still trying to get used to playing with one another and seeing who does best where.”

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