Cony’s Jon Lettre, left, and Erskine’s Tyreke Burke compete in a 285 -pound semifinal match during the KVAC wrestling championships this season at Cony High School in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal


High school wrestling took a major step forward in central Maine, as well as the state, this season.

Several programs reported an increase in numbers after struggling a bit during the coronavirus pandemic. Cony, for example, had more than 30 wrestlers this season.

“There was just an energy that was around this team,” Cony head coach Shawn Totman said. “Every day, every practice, every meet, every tournament. Just a lot of fun. It was really positive experience for everybody, coaches included.  The kids on the team responded well to everything that we demanded of them as far as the work, dedication, managing their weight. You couldn’t have asked more from a team. We knew going in that we had nice numbers, but not a lot of wrestling experience. The amount of improvement to do well in most of the tournaments that we were in and dual meets. There was a lot of excitement around wrestling, and we had missed that for a couple of years. And I thanked the kids for that, because they’re the ones that bring that, the coaches can only do so much.”

It paid off on the mat for the Rams as well. Jonny Lettre won the 285-pound championship at the Class A meet, a year after winning the 220-pound title. Nathan Shedd finished third at states at 220, while Kaiden Veilleux finished third at 195 pounds. Cony finished seventh at the Class A meet.

“The upperclassmen did a great job,” Totman said. “Jonny and Nathan did a great job. A young team needs leaders and they did a great job with handling the younger wrestlers around them. I just can’t say enough how rewarding this season was. I’ve coached a long time, and I enjoy every season. But this one will be special, especially with what we’ve been through the last few years.”


The top story of the season came when Oceanside’s Maddie Ripley becoming Maine’s first female state champion in an open tournament. Ripley pinned Nick Allen of Wells in the first round of the 106-pound final at the Class B championships at Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln on Feb. 19. She then went on to win 107-pound title at the Maine Girls Championships. Only a junior, Ripley can repeat both feats next season.

“It was great to see and she’s definitely earned it,” Skowhegan co-head coach Tenney Noyes said. “All the hard work and dedication that she’s put in through the years. She was the person to earn it and it was great to see that come to fruition for her, because I know what they put in day in and day out for all the wrestlers. The other great part about it is, she brought great publicity to the sport. She made headlines all over the place even though a lot of the stations and news articles were pretty late to the party. At least it was great to see her get the recognition and put wrestling in forefront. Hopefully a lot of people see that and try out for wrestling now.”

“It definitely inspired some young girls,” Bradbury said. “Down at the girls state tournament, I watched as a young girl walked up to Maddie and asking for a picture with her. You can tell what it will do for the sport on the female end, most definitely.”

Skowhegan had another successful season. The River Hawks finished 11th at the Class A meet, led by senior Aiden Clark, who won the 14-pound title. Senior Kobe Butters was one of the more feared heavyweights in the state, finishing third at 285 pounds. behind Lettre and Owen Bourque of Kennebunk. Sophie Noyes finished second at 100 pounds at the Maine Girls Championship.

“(The season) went well,” Noyes said. “We had a real young team with a great group of veterans on the team. We’ve got a great group of young wrestlers. We’ve got a lot of sophomores, a lot of freshmen on the team. It’s weird, we have no juniors. Next year, we’re going to be young but we have a lot of great mat time and a lot of great matches. I think it was very successful.”

Mt. Blue continued to make a rise as a program in Class A. Junior Noah Krysztofiak finished second at the Class A meet at 113 pounds. The Cougars boasted multiple girls champions in Grace Allen (120) and Kendal Foster (165), while Brooklyn Webber (107) was a runner-up while Logan Smith (100) and Sadie Lee (165) each finished third.


In Class B, Erskine Academy had an outstanding postseason, despite entering the championship meets with just seven wrestlers. Sophomore Wynn Pooler continued to establish himself as one of the top lightweights in the state, winning the 113-pound title. The Eagles (57.5 points) finished sixth at the Class B championships.

Skowhegan’s Aiden Clark wrestles with Oxford Hills’ Rocco Hayden in the 145-pound weight class in the Class A North regional finals this season in Newport. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“Our postseason definitely went better than our regular season,” Erskine head coach Tyler Bradbury said. “For showing up for those end of the season tournaments, KVACs, regionals, states, with the low numbers we did have, those kids definitely showed up and wrestled their hearts out.”

Seniors Timber Parlin (182) and Tyreke Burke (285) were also standouts for Erskine, both finishing as state runner-ups in their respective weight classes. Burke beat Butters for the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference title on Jan. 28 at Cony High School in Augusta and was named the KVAC B Most Outstanding Wrestler.

“Tyreke was a big surprise with how he showed up at KVACs and regionals,” Bradbury said. “At states, he fought hard in that finals match, he just came up two points short of getting there.”


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