Birthday bash: Windjammers celebrate 40th year with state championshipCamden Hills' Bragg, Powers bring home individual titles
Fryeburg — In the 40th year of the storied Windjammer wrestling program, it was only fitting that a team with such high annual expectations and unparalleled success on the mat decade after decade would pin down another state Class B championship on Saturday, Feb. 16 so far from home — and the title came in exciting, challenging fashion.
In a state meet held a week later than originally scheduled and at a different venue — from Feb. 9 due to heavy snow and from the Augusta Civic Center to Fryeburg Academy — Camden Hills did not mind the wait, and took care of business by defending its state crown when everything was on the line.
"What a historic and monumental achievement for the entire program," said Windjammer coach Patrick Kelly.
And the Windjammers, who were unbeaten again during the regular season at 25-0 in 2012-13, did it with a mostly youthful group, which does not bode well for opponents in the future.
This year's Camden Hills state team included two seniors, two juniors, seven sophomores and one freshman, which means 10 will return next year with state experience.
Additionally, Windjammer seniors Calan Bragg (132 pounds) and Coleman Powers (145) brought home individual state titles from Saturday's meet.
As state champs, Bragg and Powers qualified for the New England championships scheduled for Friday and Saturday, March 1-2 at the Providence Career and Technical Center in Providence, R.I. The individual champ in each weight class at the Class A, B and C state meets qualify for the New Englands.
Medomak Valley and Oceanside grapplers also turned in strong efforts during the daylong state event.
The state Class B championship team scores were: Camden Hills 131.5, Fryeburg Academy 128.5, Wells 118, Belfast 93, Gardiner 79, York 74, Ellsworth 65, Lincoln Academy of Newcastle 45, Morse of Bath 37, Mountain Valley of Rumford 32, Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield 30.5, Medomak Valley of Waldoboro 23, Caribou 23, Oak Hill of Sabattus 13, Oceanside of Rockland/Thomaston 11, Hermon 11, Central of East Corinth 10, Mount Desert Island 4 and Gray-New Gloucester no score.
The Windjammers, in their 40th year of existence (including Camden Hills and Camden-Rockport), won their 14th state Class B title (the squad also has seven state runner-up plaques). The team also has 11 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference crowns and 18 Eastern Class B titles to its credit in four decades of hard work and dedication, a boatload of state, regional and league titlists and dozens of student-athletes with 100 or more career victories.
Those individuals placing among the top four at this year's state meet from the local teams were:
Camden Hills — Calan Bragg (1st at 132 pounds), Coleman Powers (1st at 145), James Archer (2nd at 113), Connor Winchenbach (2nd at 138), Chris Weiss (3rd at 126), Jared Gilbert (3rd at 170) and John Underhill (4th at 120).
Medomak Valley — Cyril Miller (3rd at 182).
Oceanside — Dallas Ball (4th at 113).
Windjammer coach Kelly, who has led Camden Hills to state titles in the past before returning to guide the program again this winter, said his team was able to win the state crown by three points because of a wonderful scenario of events, all of which needed to happen or the squad would not have been state champs.
The coach said without Zach Annis' two points, the team would have won by one point. James Archer fought off his back to a semifinal win and without that change of events, the Windjammers do not win. John Underhill trailed 11-2 with 20 seconds left in one of his matches and he recorded a pin. Without that pin, the Windjammer do not finish first.
Kelly said "dedicated wrestler" Chris Weiss pinned for third place and without that effort, the team does not win. Calan Bragg won by technical fall in the finals which was crucial and Connor Winchenbach pinned his way to finals to be runner-up. If neither of those things occur, Camden Hills does not win.
Coleman Powers was "absolutely dominant," the coach said, as he pinned a Fryeburg Academy wrestler in the final. Without that, the Windjammers do not win.
Kelly said Eli Smith and Brian Jones both scored three valuable points, ultimately the difference between a tie and a win if either does not accomplish that feat. Jared Gilbert, who Kelly calls "Mr. Unpredictable," pinned his way to third and without that effort, the Windjammers do not win.
Bryan Clement beat a Fryeburg Academy wrestler, which was crucial, and "The big man" Kaylo Littlejohn "gave this team points on emotion because of who he is."
Kelly said, by all the measures listed above, winning the state crown again this year took a "team" effort.
"Wow, what a storied season," he said.
He said, "This team [is] so young, so tough and full of desire."
Kelly said his squad won the state crown due to three reasons. "One, the wrestlers themselves.The hardest working and toughest group of young men in Maine wrestling today. This team had the true grit and desire to take a shot at the top and they succeeded. This truly is a team title with each wrestler on the mat contributing to the overall victory.
"Two, the incredible coaching staff genius of True Bragg along with Perry Goodspeed and Paul Smith. These three gentlemen are cut from a unique coaching timber that is second to none. The day-to-day grind in the practice room requires the entire staff to evaluate each wrestler as an individual, but gel them into a team. These guys are the best. True Bragg brings a fresh insight and coaching style to the program that fit like a piece of a puzzle. Goodspeed is such a reader of kids, he can size them up in a glance and then puts into motion his incredible coaching philosophy of over 30 years. Paul Smith is a man of integrity and passion for the sport. He is so consistent and wonderful for the team. Nathaniel Boehmer was very instrumental as a volunteer with his precision coaching of the big guys on the squad.
"And three, the incredible support of the high school and community of boosters. We have been so fortunate to have the support to do the things we need to do to."
A list of the Midcoast state qualifiers, with their season records and pin totals, include:
Camden Hills — Zach Annis (27-9, 8 pins), 106-pound weight class; James Archer (35-9, 21 pins), 113 pounds; John Underhill (34-8, 19 pins), 120 pounds ; Chris Weiss (38-7, 17 pins), 126 pounds; Calan Bragg (38-4, 26 pins), 132 pounds; Connor Winchenbach (40-8, 24 pins) 138 pounds; Coleman Powers (31-2, 21 pins), 145 pounds; Eli Smith (28-12, 14 pins), 152 pounds; Jared Gilbert (38-6, 22 pins), 170 pounds; Brian Jones (23-20, 11 pins), 182 pounds; Bryan Clement (17-23, 5 pins), 220 pounds; and Kaylo Littlejohn (24-18, 9 pins), 285 pounds.
Medomak Valley — Rayanne Leach (16-17, 6 pins), 106 pounds; Riley McCollett (27-12, 14 pins), 126 pounds; Cyril Miller (40-5, 22 pins), 182 pounds; Owen Gilbert (16-17, 12 pins), 195 pounds; and Dylan Look (20-8, 8 pins), 285 pounds.
Oceanside — Dallas Ball (21-12, 17 pins), 113 pounds; and Travis Stone (15-11, 5 pins), 195 pounds.
The individual state results for Midcoast wrestlers included:
106 pounds — Zach Annis, CH, beat Charlie Durfee, Wells, 4-2; lost by major decision to Kyle Bonti, Mor, 13-1; and lost to Nicole Burgess, MountVal, 4-3.
113 pounds —James Archer, CH, pinned Carter LaBrecque, OH, at 3:45; won by major decision over Dallas Ball, Ocean, 17-9; and was pinned by Connor Sheehan, FA, at 3:26 in the championship final. Archer finished second.
Dallas Ball, Ocean, pinned Mike Provencher, MountVal, at 5:07; lost by major decision to James Archer, CH, 17-9; pinned Tre Caudill, Car, at 2:32; and lost to Carter LaBrecque, OH, 5-2 in the consolation final. Ball finished fourth.
120 pounds — John Underhill, CH, was pinned by Tommy Cryer, Wells, at 5:20; beat Jonathan Sargent, MDI, 8-6; pinned Jake Thornton, MountVal, at 4:00; and lost to Tommy Cryer, Wells, 9-4 in the consolation final. Underhill finished fourth.
126 pounds — Chris Weiss, CH, pinned Conor Smith, FA, at 3:50; lost to Colin Sevegney, Wells, 11-9; pinned Tanner Littlefield, MCI, at 4:27; and pinned Brandon Gill, MountVal, at 2:38 in the consolation final. Weiss finished third.
Riley McCollett, Med, was pinned by Colin Sevegney, Wells, at 3:00; pinned Conor Smith, FA, at 2:47; and lost to Brandon Gill, MountVal, 7-5.
132 pounds — Calan Bragg, CH, pinned Sam LaPointe, Wells, at 3:55; pinned Brendan Wood, Car, at 2:57; and won by technical fall over Jack Weeks, Ells, 17-2 in the championship final. Bragg finished first.
138 pounds — Connor Winchenbach, CH, pinned Jack Bouchard, York, at 2:18; pinned Hunter Day, FA, at 3:27; and was pinned by Danny Delgallo, Gard, at 2:20 in the championship final. Winchenbach finished second.
145 pounds — Coleman Powers, CH, pinned Chad Bonti, Mor, at 1:12; pinned Josh Smith, York, at 1:37; and pinned Matt Boucher, FA, at 0:53 in the championship final. Powers finished first.
152 pounds — Eli Smith, CH, lost by major decision to Jake Thurston, FA, 13-3; pinned Brendon Tervo, OH, at 2:36; and was pinned by Ian Austin, MountVal, at 1:52.
170 pounds — Jared Gilbert, CH, won by major decision over Christian DiMiranda, FA, 12-0; was pinned by Colin Higgins, LA, at 5:57; pinned Jacob Truman, Gard, at 1:44; and pinned Jake Poors, Ells, at 2:24 in the consolation final. Gilbert finished third.
182 pounds — Cyril Miller, Med, pinned Anthony Boucher, MountVal, at 3:25; lost to Wyatt Roberts, Bel, 6-2; pinned Brian Jones, CH, at 4:39; and beat Mark Slusher, York, 7-3 in the consolation final. Miller finished third.
Brian Jones, CH, was pinned by Ian MacFawn, FA, at 1:10; pinned Nate Geoffrion, LA, at 1:57; and was pinned by Cyril Miller, Med, at 4:39.
195 pounds — Owen Gilbert, Med, was pinned by Mitchell Chesley, Gard, at 1:01; pinned Matt Manter, Car, at 2:51; and was pinned by Trevor Henschel, FA, at 1:35.
Travis Stone, Ocean, was pinned by Trevor Henschel, FA, at 3:01; and was pinned by Zack Cross, MountVal, at 3:14.
220 pounds — Bryan Clement, CH, beat Angel Escalante, FA, 7-2; was pinned by Alex Mercurio, York, at 0:53; and lost to Briar Bussell, MCI, 4-2.
285 pounds — Dylan Look, Med, lost to Cody Spicer, York, 6-3; pinned Austin Taigo, Mor, at 1:32; and was pinned by Luke Potter, Her, at 1:38.
Kaylo Littlejohn, CH, was pinned by Marc Surprenant, Wells, at 3:25; and was pinned by Andrew Lyman, FA, at 2:37.
Courier Publications sports staff can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401 or by email at email@example.com.