Unbeaten Camden Hills looks to pin down postseason successAs usual, Windjammers in hunt for league, regional and state crowns
Augusta — The Camden Hills wrestling team recently polished off another unbeaten regular season and now, as usual, have its sights set on pinning down league, regional and state championships in the coming weeks.
The Windjammers postseason gauntlet will begin with the talent-laden Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship meet on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 9 a.m. at Cony High School in Augusta.
Camden Hills should be among the favorites Saturday to emerge with the coveted league crown.
The Windjammers finished the regular season 25-0 and performed well in a bundle of inseason tournaments. Now, the team's real work — and fun — begins.
Many Windjammers have experienced tremendous individual success this season, which had directly led to the team's success.
A list of Windjammer wrestlers in each weight class, along with their records and pins for the season, include:
106 pounds — Zach Annis 21-8, with 10 pins.
113 pounds — James Archer 26-6, with 18 pins.
120 pounds — John Underhill 26-4, with 15 pins.
126 pounds — Chris Weiss 26-3, with 9 pins.
132 pounds — Calan Bragg 28-2, with 20 pins.
138 pounds — Connor Winchenbach 32-5, with 15 pins.
145 pounds — Coleman Powers 21-2, with 15 pins.
152 pounds — Eli Smith 22-6, with 11 pins.
160 pounds — Wyatt Parra 6-15, with 2 pins; and Taylor Crosby 1-0, with 1 pin.
170 pounds — Jared Gilbert 29-5, with 17 pins.
182 pounds — Brian Jones 17-15, with 7 pins.
195 pounds — Alex Copeland 2-5, with no pins.
220 pounds — Bryan Clement 13-18, with 3 pins.
285 pounds — Kaylo Littlejohn 22-13, with 8 pins.
Success in postseason tournaments is, in some respects, a right of passage for the Windjammers, who are, by all accounts, among the most successful high school wrestling programs in state history.
The evidence for that is overwhelming. The team has won 13 state Class B titles, 17 Eastern Class B crowns and 11 KVAC championships (both Class A and B schools compete in that tourney). The squad also has been state runners-up seven times, regional runners-up three times and league runners-up three times.
“Camden Hills is now, and always has always been, a threat to win any tournament," said Windjammer coach Patrick Kelly, who has led the squad to postseason titles in his previous coaching stints. "This is true for one reason only: the wrestlers that make up the 40th team in Windjammer history are an extraordinary team in terms of work ethic, talent and pride.”
Kelly said the league event "is just another meet in preparation for the biggest meet of all — [the] states.”
The coach said Camden Hills ended with both strong and not-so-strong seeds for the league meet. "But, this team will persevere," he said. "All 14 wrestlers have an opportunity. What they do with that opportunity is solely up to them.”
Asked why the Windjammers continue to win — and in most cases, dominate — against nearly all opponents year after year, Kelly said, “We are the hardest training team in the state.”
The coach said he looks for Archer, Underhill, Weiss and Powers to be league finalists in their weight classes" and the rest of the Windjammers to battle for third- and fourth-place finishes.
“I am so very pleased with this entire squad," Kelly said. "They are a unique bunch that I personally enjoy being with on a day to day basis. They all exemplify what it means to be a Windjammer wrestler."
Kelly said Skowhegan will be among the tougher foes in the league tournament and said the Class A school has the seeds, wrestlers and momentum to win an overall team title "but, we will battle hard with class and pride."
Finally, Kelly said assistant coach True Bragg, a former Windjammer wrestler, has been amazing for the team as "he brings a level of insight and talent that is masterful with the wrestlers. He will be a phenomenal head coach one day.”
Assistant coach Perry Goodspeed, a longtime supporter and leader of the program, is, as always, “brilliant,” Kelly said, and assistant coach Paul Smith is the "master of details."
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