University of Southern Maine wrestler Jake Peavey, top, tries to make a takedown during a match earlier this season. Peavey will be wrestling at the Division III national championships this weekend in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Riley Peterson/USM Athletics

Jake Peavey is looking to end his wrestling season on a new career high.

Peavey, a University of Southern Maine senior and Erskine Academy graduate, is heading to the Division III national championship this weekend in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Wrestling at 285 pounds, Peavey is 25-3, including 12 wins by pinfall.

He qualified for his first trip to nationals by placing second in his weight class at the Northeast Division III Regional Championship on Feb. 27 in Springfield, Massachusetts. USM freshman Colby Frost, a Bonny Eagle graduate, will also compete in nationals, in the 149-pound division.

“It’s exciting,” Peavey said. “It’s been a long (term) goal of mine when I got here at USM. I worked really hard to get here. It’s an exciting experience and there’s nothing like it and a goal I’ve had for a long time.”

Peavey is no overnight success at USM. He went 16-9 as a freshman during the 2018-2019 season. As a sophomore, he finished sixth at the NCAA regional championships. Peavey still has one year of athletic eligibility left, as there was no true winter sports season last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.


“He’s been consistent this year,” USM head coach Mike Morin said. “He’s made some big jumps in the last couple years. I think that’s just a testament to his hard work and the commitment he’s put forth, in the classroom and on the wrestling mat. With COVID, we certainly saw the exact opposite. We saw some guys, guys who you think are going to do big things — not only speaking to USM, but across the board throughout the country — kind of be negatively impacted with some time away from the mats. Jake was kind of the opposite, he really had a strong year.”

Peavey started wrestling in his freshman year at Erskine, but quickly had success. From 2016 to 2018, he won three consecutive regional titles at 285 pounds — twice in Class B South, once in A North. A state runner-up in Class B in 2016 and 2017, Peavey captured a Class A title in 2018 by pinning Zebulun Leavitt of Cheverus in the championship round in 49 seconds. Peavey went 161-35 with 116 pins at Erskine.

University of Southern Maine wrestler Jake Peavey, an Erskine Academy graduate, will wrestle at the Division III national championships Saturday and Sunday at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Riley Peterson/USM Athletics

Peavey said his lack of experience was actually a positive when he began his career at USM, as he hadn’t developed bad habits on the mat.

“I learned pretty quickly that a lot of the stuff that got me through high school wasn’t going to fly in college,” he said. “I had to adapt and I had to change a lot in the style of my wrestling. I didn’t have to pin everybody, I can win matches 1-0, 2-0. I could win matches by a point and that does the exact same thing.

“Coaches have worked with me on slowing down and really thinking through while I’m wrestling. Not over-thinking, but having a purpose for everything I do. My technique, for sure, has improved leaps and bounds.”

“When he came in, he was pretty raw,” Morin added. “He had all the attributes. He had some success at the high school level. He’s a big body. He’s strong. He’s athletic. When you add all that in and he’s a coachable kid, he listens. He’s bought into what we’re all about here at USM. He’s just kind of had an upward trajectory since he’s been here. That’s all a credit to him, because it’s just the type of guy he is. I feel like anything Jake throws himself into, he’s going to find a way to be successful. That’s what I’ve learned about him the last few years, he wants to be the best at what he does and he’s going to give it everything he has.”


Peavey said he feels prepared for what will come his way this weekend.

“So much in wrestling is that mental aspect,” he said. “If you overthink it, you’re going to hurt yourself overthinking. You try to run yourself with every scenario. Especially with wrestling, with a tournament like this with the brackets coming in a week or two in advance, you can look and say, ‘OK, if I beat this guy, I’d wrestle this guy.’ The big thing I talked with coach on, especially this week, it’s no different than anything we’ve done all year. Nothing changes. My wrestling style, everything we’ve done, just stays constant. We’ve been able to have success to this point doing what we’ve done, there’s no point to change anything. Nothing crazy, just sharpening the tools that we’ve come up with.”


Dave Dyer — 621-5640

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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