High school wrestling

Balancing act: Mariners, Panthers, Mustangs head south for regional action

Longtime North participants switch regions to help overall sport
By Ken Waltz | Nov 28, 2018

Augusta — Traditionally, Medomak Valley of Waldoboro, Oceanside of Rockland and Mount View of Thorndike have battled for team and individual regional wrestling titles in the north. But, this year, the Panthers, Mariners and Mustangs will take their mat talents in another direction — namely, south.

And that means longstanding connections and competitions against Eastern/Northern opponents cultivated over the years will be shelved, for now, in the name of making the sport more equitable for all Class B mat student-athletes.

Usually, the Maine Principals' Association uses two-year periods to make adjustments to sport classifications, using the always fluctuating enrollments to place schools in a particular class and region.

But, the change to Class B wrestling was made to address an existing problem and to make the playing field — or, in this case, mat — more equitable.

Class B wrestling is for schools with up to 579 students and Class A for schools with 580 and more.

The new group of Class B South teams, with enrollment figures in parentheses, includes Lincoln Academy of Newcastle (579), Fryeburg Academy (562), Medomak Valley (553), Oceanside (488), Maine Central Institute of Pittsfield (479), Lisbon/Oak Hill of Lisbon Falls and Sabattus (457), Winslow (446), Wells (432), Mount View (412), Mountain Valley of Rumford (407), Dirigo of Dixfield (263), Madison (231), Monmouth Academy (221), Carrabec of North Anson (215) and Richmond (144).

The new group of Class B North teams, with enrollment figures in parentheses, include John Bapst of Bangor (513), Hermon (504), Belfast (501), Ellsworth (448), Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft (448), Caribou (430), Washington Academy of East Machias (417), George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill (321), Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln (321), Dexter (304), Bucksport (299), Fort Kent (281), Sumner of East Sullivan (248), Calais (211), Lee Academy (192), Piscataquis of Guilford (176), Penobscot Valley of Howland (160), Woodland (112) and Bangor Christian (94).

So, besides Midcoast schools Medomak Valley, Oceanside and Mount View, which, geographically, is a more central Maine school, MCI and Winslow, more north and central schools, also were moved to the South to balance out the Class B regional numbers.

Medomak Valley athletic director Matt Lash said the moves were strictly made to create balance and fairness for all.

For example, last year, there were a few South B weight classes that were not full and two state weight classes only included two South wrestlers, Lash said, and each region is suppose to hopefully qualify four, plus alternates, to the states for an eight-person state championship bracket — four from each region — in each weight class.

So in the North, wrestlers were forced to stay home because they did not qualify among the top four out of the much larger North region, when South state entries did not include four qualifiers per weight class, let alone alternates.

Thus, the moves of a handful of traditional North schools to the South was made to create balance and enable more student-athletes an opportunity to qualify for the state tournament.

This year, the Class B South championship meet is at Fryeburg Academy and Class North championship meet at Ellsworth High School, both on Saturday, Feb, 9.

Mount View has, over the years, fluctuated between regions and, at times, was in Class C, which is no longer available.

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