Pine Tree Wrestling League

Pharris proves fairest — and best — in land on mat

Schooner wins his first league championship at 155 pounds
By Zack Miller | Apr 12, 2018
Photo by: Zack Miller Camden-Rockport's Henry Pharris next to a banner that bears his name and year he won the Pine Tree Wrestling League 155-pound championship.

Camden — People love to see improvement in things they do, or other people do, whether that be in a sport, or in life.

Camden-Rockport's Henry Pharris fits that mold, as a middle school wrestler, that has slowly, and steadily, climbed the ranks in the Pine Tree Wrestling League, from when he entered fifth grade, to the end of his eighth-grade year.

“Starting as a fifth-grader, Henry always had a lot of natural [wrestling] ability," Camden-Rockport coach Aaron Henderson said. “He had great ability to learn moves quickly.”

“I’ve always been large, and if you’re large you tend to wrestle people older than you and have more experience,” Pharris said. “In particularly in fifth and sixth grade, I was dealing with a lot of people who were significantly older and more experienced than me. I was always used to losing by large margins, over and over again, it wasn’t very pleasant.”

In fifth and sixth grades, Pharris competed at 117 pounds, and in fifth grade did not place in the East regional meet, which ended his season.

In sixth grade, Pharris placed third at regionals, which vaulted him to the league championships, where he, ultimately, did not place, but improvement was present.

When Pharris moved to seventh grade he also moved up to the 137-pound weight class, and finished second at regionals, but again, did not place at the league championships.

“In seventh grade, I didn’t feel like he met his full potential because he went away for February vacation and then was really sick,” Henderson said. “He didn’t wrestle much last year. I said to him if you want to be good and win a championship as an eighth-grader you should go to wrestling camp.”

This year, everything came together for Pharris, as he hit his stride in the 155-pound weight class.

Pharris rolled through the regular season, as he corralled a 24-0 record, with 11 pins, all the while not allowing a single offensive point to be scored on him during the regular season.

Things did not slow down for Pharris in regional meet either, as he wrangled a first-place finish, as he pinning Oceanside’s Brian Henry and Frankie Martin of Troy Howard of Belfast en route to the championship.

The first-place finish vaulted Pharris to the league championship meet for the third straight season, and this time the 14-year-old improved as far as he could.

Pharris pinned Isaiah Bradeen of Dirigo, Bristol Leahy from Oxford Hills and notched a 7-1 win over Jeremy Harmon of Sugg of Lisbon for the league championship in his final season in middle school. That one point allowed also was the only offensive point scored on Pharris the entire year.

“It was what my goal was,” Pharris said of winning the league title. “It was super exciting and fulfilling.”

“It feels pretty good [to win the championship],” Pharris said. “It didn’t feel as big as I thought it would be. You always see the kids jumping up and down right after they win their last match. I intentionally tried to avoid that. It still does feel good to accomplish something like that.”

“It was very exciting and great as a team to have a champion,” Henderson said. “The rest of the kids were very excited. Henry was excited and all the other kids were hugging him, and it was a big thrill for them as well.”

“Each year I’ve set goals for myself because each year I’ve gotten better,” Pharris said. “In sixth grade I got third at regionals and second in seventh grade. I wanted to get consistently better. That’s what pushed me to get first [this season].”

With the championship Pharris’ name joins the list of other Camden-Rockport PTWL champions on the banner Henderson keeps, and is the first champion since Eric Andrews won in 2016 in the 81-pound weight class.

In the winter of this year, Pharris makes the significant leap into high school, if he decides to continue on the mats, when he will compete for Camden Hills Regional High School in the Class A ranks.

“I’m the tiniest bit worried, but also optimistic,” Pharris said. “If you’ve been working hard enough you’re going to be better than everyone else [in middle school] but in high school you will be worse than everyone else, but I’m optimistic.”

“I’m very glad to hear he sounds like he is going to wrestle in high school,” Henderson said. “He said he wasn’t sure, because it’s nerve-racking and a big step up, and a lot harder and involves a lot more dedication. I’m really optimistic he can do well in high school because he is going to have the partners and the training that he can really respond too. I think in that room he can do well.”

Camden-Rockport's Henry Pharris next to a banner that bears his name — and those of other previous Schooner wrestling champions. (Photo by: Zack Miller)
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