By Bob PcPhee
It was certainly a gala event that captured the true essence of the world’s oldest sport and the memories were extremely over flowing as Steve Nokes and Domingo Cumpian highlighted the 2002 Maine Amateur Wrestling Alliance Hall Of Fame.
Nokes of Peru and Cumpian, currently serving in the United States Air Force were officially inducted along with other competitors Steve Sabine, Skowhegan H.S. and Jayson ‘Jake’ Allain of Sanford H.S. during MAWA induction ceremonies Saturday evening at the Hyde School in Bath. The honor was three-fold for Nokes because in addition to his mat skills, he earned respect as a coach and contributor. It’s the first time an individual was recognized in all three categories.
Beverly Glover of Dixfield was awarded the Person of the Year based on her loyal dedication to wrestling for over a decade. Glover began following the Dirigo wrestling program in 1987 and has only missed two events in 16 years.
“This is an honor that I never expected," Glover said. “The sport of wrestling grows on you and it’s extremely satisfying to have been associated with through the years. It’s great for the kids because it helps build their self-esteem.”
Glover has always been available and her contributions to all wrestlers are well known throughout the state. Glover’ son Shad won the first-ever 119-pound state championship when Class C was created in 1990.
“Wrestling is for every one," Glover said. “You don’t need to be the biggest or strongest person in order to succeed. There’s a spot for every one, but you need to be willing to work for it.”
Nokes paid his dues early on, but stuck with the sport and eventually proved untouchable in Maine en route to winning Class A state championships in ’76-77. Nokes also placed second and third respectively, in the New England championships
“Success doesn’t suddenly appear,” Nokes said. “I’ve found that in order to get by in life, it’s necessary to surround yourself with good people. If you do, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to rise above (obstacles) that are encountered.”
The lure of wrestling never escaped Nokes and he returned as an assistant coach at Rumford a decade later. The Rumford-Mexico school systems merged in the late 1980s and Mountain Valley H.S. was created. Nokes became the head coach and won 74 meets, exactly the amount of matches he’d won while competing.
Nokes followed a great philosophy that he had learned early on in his coaching career. A group of several veteran coaches expressed that utilizing your eyes and ears, not your mouth, was the best way to succeed in the profession.
Cumpian was all business on the mat and won three consecutive Class A state championships from 1988-90 at Mount Blue. More importantly, his drive and dedication also helped bring back plenty of pride back in to the Mount Blue wrestling program.
“There are three thing’s to look for in a competitor," former Mount Blue coach Glenn Kapiloff said. “First, they need to be talented and also be dedicated to themselves and the sport. Last is character and that’s important to have. Fortunately, Domingo had all three and although he was successful, his focus was directed toward the team.”
Cumpian was unable to attend the ceremonies because he’d been on a mission in Turkey. The former Cougar standout an exceptional student-athlete and finished his wrestling career with 118 wins.
As a freshman, Cumpian entered a tournament and when asked, only gave his first name. The rest of the day his introductions drew puzzled looks, however, by the time of graduation every one knew who Domingo was.
Allain, who won a state championship in 1977, went on to enhance his career both nationally and internationally. He enjoyed an extensive wrestling background, including competing for the York County Athletic Club.
Allain, who had strong determination and perseverance, was a three-time New England Greco Roman champion and also placed sixth and third, respectively in the United States Junior World Wrestling championships.
Allain joined his father Ric as the first ever MAWA father-son Hall Of Famers. A brother-in-law Earl Boyce is also a HOF member.
Allain won three U.S. Air Force Wrestling titles and was a member of the National World Cup team.
.Sabine won three state championships, including a New England crown in ’68.
won a New England Small College Championship. Following serving in the Army, Sabine enrolled at the University of Maine.
Keith Lancaster, who coached Sabine at Skowhegan, was the presenter. Lancaster who also created a program at Oxford Hills, is a member of the Hall of Fame.
Ben Goulette of Morse was awarded the John Caramihalis scholarship. Goulette, a three- Class A state champion, will enroll in and wrestle at the University of Southern Maine this fall. Other finalists included Pat Howard of Marshwood and Jon Kane of Deering.