High school wrestling

Windjammer Lang's history-making mat career comes to end

Two-time state titlist finishes with most career wins, pins in program's four-decade-plus history
By Mark Haskell | Mar 15, 2019
Courtesy of: Glenn Lang Camden Hills senior Noah Lang surrounded by — and immersed in — his incredible collection of wrestling accomplishments.

Lincolnville — Camden Hills Regional and Camden-Rockport high schools, historically, have been among the cream of Maine's wrestling crop for more than four decades with a whopping 15 state team championships, 19 regional crowns and a multitude of conference titles.

The Windjammers also have turned out even more individual state champions, such as UFC fighter Tim Boetsch, Chris Remsen, Levi Rollins, Cody Laite, Connor Winchenbach, to name only a handful, and, most recently, Noah Lang.

Lang pinned down his second consecutive state Class A crown in the 145-pound class at Cony High School in Augusta this winter and since, continued his impressive mat run with a second-place finish at the New England qualifier and a fourth-place finish at New Englands.

Along the way, Lang, who is up for All-American status from Wrestling USA, also has earned the distinction as the all-time wins leader in the Windjammers' rich wrestling history.

And he has accomplished it with dedication, hard work and, of course, plenty of talent.

"Noah has missed one wrestling practice in four years," said Camden Hills coach Pat Kelly.

"Noah is irreplaceable," said Kelly. "Not only for his dominance on the mat, but for his quiet and effective leadership of this team and program. He is an example not only for his teammates, but for high school student-athletes as a whole. Noah is a topnotch everything. He is a topnotch student, wrestler, outdoorsman, friend, son and brother. It does not get any better than that."

After his fourth at the New Englands, when he battled to six wins in eight matches, Lang finished his high school wrestling career with an astounding 207 mat victories against only 10 losses, with 117 of those victories coming by way of pin, also a school record. He also is the only Windjammer to win state Class A titles as all other champions were in Class B.

“Part of the reason I was able to surpass the record was because we’re doing a lot more postseason stuff,” said Lang. “Having more people go to All-States and more people go to New Englands, when that really wasn’t happening [as often] before.”

That explanation from Lang of his success matches nicely with what coach Kelly calls his "humble and gracious demeanor."

"He can win over 200 matches and never overexcite with his victories and losses with dignity and grace," Kelly said. "What awesome characteristics for an 18-year-old man."

At New Englands Lang earned pin victories over state champions from Massachusetts, Vermont and Rhode Island, in addition to a win by decision over Mark Ward of Mount View, also a state champion for Maine.

“That was definitely a really long day,” Lang said. “But it was all about taking it one match at a time and not overthinking who you’re going to have to face next. They’ve got this big long bracket there that tells you who you’re going to wrestle and you can see it says Rhode Island all-state champ, Massachusetts all-state champ. It’s just about focusing.”

Lang, who began wrestling when he was “four or five,” felt confident in his abilities to win a state championship, which he did with a 46-second pin victory over Devin Whitmore of Biddeford.

But, the New Englands, where one faces the best at every weight class from the Northeast, was a daunting task.

“I went into it knowing full well that anybody I wrestled could very easily beat me just the same as I could beat them,” he said. “In Maine I’ve beaten mostly everybody so I had a pretty good idea I was going to win [the state title], but down in Rhode Island, you have no idea who you’re going to face. The Massachusetts fourth-placer could absolutely demolish you. You just never know. Out-of-state competition is absolutely ferocious.”

But, he did see a familiar face in Ward, and got a bit of revenge over his neighbor to the north with a 7-4 win, which bounced Ward from the New England tournament.

Ward — who also won the state Class B championship weeks prior in the same weight class — beat Lang 9-4 to win the New England qualifier on Saturday, Feb. 23 at Oxford Hills in South Paris.

The two have wrestled against each other often over the past few years, back to when both were winning Pine Tree Wrestling League championships for Hope-Appleton-Lincolnville and Mount View Junior High School.

“It’s always a total battle whenever we wrestle because our styles kind of clash with each other,” said Lang. “He’s a super-kind of gangly, fast, really reactive wrestler. And I’m a more technical, slow-paced kind of person. And we go back and forth because Mark is extremely hard to score on.”

Lang, 18, plans to enroll at the University of Maine at Orono, where he will major in biomedical engineering and will be part of the Black Bear club wrestling team.

And, where he will be reasonably close to home, he plans to attend Windjammer wrestling practices from time to time and continue to work with the younger wrestlers.

Which would bode just fine for Kelly and the Windjammer program.

"In my mind, he is legendary," said Kelly. "Noah is exactly the type of young man you want your own kids to be around. Noah is the trademark of this program and he will continue to be for quite some time to come."

Interestingly enough, when Lang was a freshman, the wrestler he most looked up to on his team was then senior Taylor Crosby, who is now an assistant coach with the Windjammers.

“He [Crosby] would be one of the people who was able to consistently match me," Lang said. "I was pretty successful in the practice room even as a freshman. And Alex Vokey was another one. I was always striving to be his equal when I was wrestling him in the practice room. And they helped me push myself to be a better wrestler.”

“The alumni, like Crosby, are some of the best people to help you become a better wrestler. Because they’re already come to this program, they know what it’s like and they know how you feel because they’ve been in your shoes. And I think that’s something that’s really important when you’re teaching newer wrestlers.”

While he hopes to help the Windjammers when his schedule permits in the practice gym next season and beyond, he also offered words of advice for younger grapplers who might one day eye his 207 career wins as a sight to set their eyes on.

“I would say that if you want to be a New England-level wrestler, you have to be willing to put in a lot of work and you have to put in your best effort every single day," Lang said. "You have to be trying to improve every single day, or you’ll fall behind. And it gets tough. It really does. But if you keep driving forward, every day, you’ll improve. But you’ve got to make good decisions. You’ve got to know what to eat, you’ve got to work out every day [and] every day you have to pick something to work on and improve it, or you’ll fall behind.”

Now, for the first time in a few years, Lang will have time to recharge his mat batteries before taking his talents north to Orono.

“In one way, it’s nice to relax,” he said. “And then at the same time there’s that feeling of ‘What am I going to do with my spare time now? It’s nice having a temporary reprieve at least."

Something the always-working, always-driven Lang never gave opponents on the mat.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.