Thursday, August 19, 2010

Kalman, Leighton named to Maine Wrestling Hall of Fame

Andy Kalman

SANFORD—Two former Sanford High School wrestling standouts will be inducted into the Maine Wrestling Alliance Hall of Fame it was announced last week.

Andy Kalman, who won three Maine State championships, and Les Leighton, who won two state championships, two New England championships, and two Northern New England championships, will be inducted Saturday at the Howard Johnson Hotel and Conference Center (formerly Verillo's) in Portland.

Leighton was the Northern New England champion in the 138-pound class in 1965 and 1966, and the New England Champion in 1966 and 1967. He was also the State Champion in the 138-pound class in 1966 and 1967 and was team captain and MVP of the Sanford High School team that won the New England Championship in 1967.

Kalman was the State Champion in the 189-pound class in 1996, 1997, and 1998. His overall schoolboy record was 117-4. The next year, he received a varsity letter at Harvard University, wrestling in the 184-pound class.

In 1997 Kalman was a champion in the Middle Atlantic Wrestling Association Eastern National Championships, and in 1998, he finished eighth in the USA Wrestling Junior National Freestyle Championships. Also in 1998 he received honorable mention to the USA Wrestling magazine High School All America Team, and received the Hall of Fame Dave Schultz High School All-America Excellence Award.

The presentations will begin at 7:15 p.m. following a social hour and dinner beginning at 6 p.m. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Twisted Logic Of Gender Equity

By  - Richard A. Epstein 
In the midst of all the current tumult over health care, banking and taxation, it is useful to return for a moment to a persistent thorn in the sides of all colleges: the gender equity requirements for athletics that emerged under Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The current cause-célèbre is a much hailed decision by Judge Stephan R. Underhill in federal District Court in Connecticut in Blediger v. Quinnipaic. As the story is relayed in the press, the crux of the case was the judge's determination that "competitive cheerleading" did not count as a sport for the purposes of the gender equity rules of Title IX. On the strength of that finding, he concluded that Quinnipiac had to reinstate its women's volleyball team that had been slated for extinction.

On its face, Blediger looks like another case of an unscrupulous college using shenanigans to undermine Title IX's great engine of sex equality. The backstory, however, reveals a different picture--one of a university that turned cartwheels to meet the demands of its students without running afoul of the Title IX juggernaut. On its face, Title IX looks relatively benign when it provides: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."

This provision has provoked little litigation with academic programs. But it has generated a firestorm of controversy over intercollegiate athletic programs. Read literally, it would require that all athletic teams be open to men and women equally, at which point there would be no female athletes. Race-blind athletics works well; sex-blind athletics does not. So the statutory command had to be fixed to meet the problem. So the once dreaded phrase of "separate-but-equal" became the measure, so that there can be both women's and men's team in sports like volleyball and basketball.

But it hasn't worked out that way. For starters, note that Quinnipiac has no men's volleyball team to cut, which is hard to square with the Title IX requirement that all educational programs or activities be open equally to men and women. Nonetheless, since 1979, the Office of Civil Rights has issued an aggressive administrative interpretation of Title IX that could care less about equal opportunity in all sports. Rather the OCR rule looks solely to the numbers, by decreeing that colleges will be deemed to discriminate by sex unless the proportion of women engaged in sports, relative to enrollment, is the same as it is for men.

That external constraint massively distorts the face of college athletics. First, in many colleges (but not Quinnipiac) men's football is the dominant revenue source, which has no female equivalent. Football teams carry large squads. Impose strict numerical equality and all other men's sports get wiped out, along with the revenue source for women's sports. So we wink at that one.

Football aside, the participation rates of men in all voluntary programs are higher than they are for women, by close to a 2 to 1 ratio. That's the ratio for intramural sports, and for all other measures of participation outside college settings. Hence for colleges with the same number of men as women, we should expect close to twice as many men to participate in sports. To meet proportionate participation rates, men's sports have to cut ruthlessly and women's sports have to be heavily subsidized.

The shifts are still more powerful because women constitute by around 60% the enrollment of American colleges. That reality hits Quinnipiac hard, so that it has 13 sports programs for women and only 7 for men. Blediger arose when Quinnipaic cut its men's golf team, its men's outdoor track and its women's volleyball team. Right now, women can participate in both indoor and outdoor track. Men can participate in neither. The proposed cuts of the two men's team helped get the numbers right, so they passed muster without the object. But the cut of women's volleyball raised the whelps when the nonsport of "competitive cheerleading" was put in its place.

The imbalance between men's and women's sports opportunities has nothing to do with either student demand or budget. If the Quinnipiac alumni offered to paid in full for a new men's wrestling team, the school could not start one even if the men lined up 10 deep for each place on the team. Don't blame the harried officials at Quinnipiac, who have resorted to all sorts of gimmicks to open more places to meet the unsatisfied demand for men's sports. They require women's teams to meet certain minimum numbers--to make way for more men. They require men's teams to meet maximum numbers--to cut down on the need to draft women. They count any woman who does cross-country, indoor track and outdoor track separately for each sport. Men count once because they can only compete in cross country.

This ill-fated law suit only makes matters worse. Judge Underhill issued a judgment that discrimination has reared its ugly head once again in college sports. His judgment thus will spur women's advocates and key organizations like the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and American Association of University Professors (AAUP) to stress once again the necessity for strict enforcement of Title IX. The Obama administration will surely follow suit.

In fact, American colleges should be allowed to move rapidly in the opposite direction. The proper role for an anti-discrimination rule is to limit monopoly power, which used to be common in transportation, communication and power, but is much harder to create maintain in the face of modern technical innovations.

In dealing with universities, however, the effect of anti-discrimination laws is almost always perverse. The color-blind requirements for race are utterly incompatible with the private demand for affirmative action programs. It took some fast-stepping by the Supreme Court to allow voluntary affirmative action programs, which have generally worked tolerably well without government policing. A similar willingness to allow voluntary action for intercollegiate sports also would have worked just fine. But the hugely coercive impact of Title IX requires every college to deviate from sound principles or internal governance to meet these inexorable government demands.

Now that Quinnipiac has gotten its come-uppance, it will take time before any other college finds the gumption to challenge this unprecedented and unwarranted federal interference in the internal operations of colleges across the land. A totalitarian peace will rule the land. Yet what is needed right now is a renewed commitment to principles of freedom of association that today is in all too short supply in our public discourse.

Richard A. Epstein is the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law, New York University School of Law, the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow, The Hoover Institution, and the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor, The University of Chicago.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

DelGallo Wins Schultz Award

Gardiner High School’s Matt DelGallo added another accolade to an impressive high school wrestling resume when he was named Maine’s 2010 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award winner. The award, presented by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, is named in honor of the late Dave Schultz who was an NCAA and Olympic champion.

“The Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award is presented annually to a high school senior in each of the 49 states that sanction a High School State Wrestling Championship,” said Lee Roy Smith, National Wrestling Hall of Fame Executive Director. “The award is based equally on outstanding wrestling success, scholastic achievement and citizenship or community service.”

“Matt certainly meets all the criteria for the award,” said Gardiner coach Matt Hanley. “He has been an honor roll student, is active in his church and his accomplishments on the mat speak for themselves.”
DelGallo leaves the Gardiner program as the all-time leader in wins with 171. He was a four-time state champion, winning two Class A titles and two Class B titles. He was also a four time conference and regional champion among numerous other tournament titles.

The award includes an all-expense paid trip to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to take part in a four day training camp hosted by USA Wrestling. USA Wrestling is the National Governing Body for Olympic Wrestling.

“The camp includes technique sessions with Olympians and World Team coaches, as well as off-the-mat sessions on character development, leadership training, and civic duty,” said USA Wrestling’s Tony Black. "This is a chance for the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and USA Wrestling to work together and put together a fantastic camp for some of our nation's finest young men. These are the future leaders inside and outside of our sport, so we are excited to have them at the Olympic Training Center."

“It is awesome to get this award,” said DelGallo. “I am excited to go to the Training Center. I feel honored to get this once in a life time opportunity. It should be a great time.”

The next step in DelGallo’s wrestling journey takes place this fall when he will enter Messiah College (Grantham, PA). DelGallo plans on competing on the Falcon team under the tutelage of Coach Bryan Brunk, a standout wrestler while at Bonny Eagle High School (Buxton, ME)

“I'm really excited to bring in a wrestler with Matt's ability and potential,” said Brunk. “The fact that Matt has wrestled in my home state of Maine and has had so much success on the mat makes him a special recruit for us. Someone who has been a four time State champ knows how to compete and knows how to win. I believe that our room at
Messiah will provide Matt with a number of talented training partners that will only help him to refine his technique and increase his intensity.”

Monday, April 19, 2010

Wrestling honor would be fitting for UNH's Marsh

"It means something for the kids in the program," Marsh said. "In the 15 years UNH has been in the NCWA, a New England coach has never been selected. These are great kids in this program and they deserve it."
This coming from a guy who has earned his share of honors and awards over more than 50 years of being involved in the sport. After a successful wrestling career at Winnacunnet High School (Class of 1961), he earned a college scholarship to Appalachian State, where his team lost just two meets in his five years (Marsh redshirted a year). He placed second at the 1968 Olympic Trials, and is a former U.S. Wrestling Federation champion. Marsh was inducted into the USA Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1985.
Yep, he's the Hulk Hogan of real wrestling. But wait, there's more (and know that Marsh isn't capable of talking about himself this much — the only way to find all this is to dig).
Marsh has been an NCAA official for more than 40 years and has worked more than 50 regional and national tournaments, though he will only referee high school matches at the moment since he is coaching a college team. He's a compliance officer with the NCWA, too, so you know he's got serious mat cred.
Past coaching jobs include stints at UMass-Lowell and Exeter High School. No, there isn't much Marsh, a North Hampton resident, hasn't accomplished in wrestling.
In all his years on and around the mat, though, his body of work over the past four years at UNH is without out a doubt among his finest. When Marsh took over the club team at State U in Durham four years ago, they had been through two coaches in a short span of time and there were only six young men on the team.
Fast-forward four years to present day, and the differences are stunning. A team of just six has grown to 32, which, according to Marsh, places them among the top three largest teams in the country. UNH has had 28 student-athletes qualify for nationals, five All-Americans and three national champions. The Wildcats finished sixth last year at nationals, and this year finished 20th in a 95-team field.
Marsh's coaching style has much to do with it.
"Coach Marsh has done an awesome job," said senior standout Shaun Toomey, a Hampton resident who graduated from Winnacunnet in 2006, and whose younger brother, Patrick is a freshman member of the UNH squad (Winnacunnet Class of 2009). "His style is so unique. He puts an emphasis on us making our own decisions."
That's by design.
"When I came in here, I told the kids I was going to train them like an Olympic team," Marsh said. "I'm not a yelling, screaming type of person. They know what I expect. This is a highly motivated group of kids. Seventy percent of them have been state champions, so they know how to win."
While the athletic accomplishments are impressive, they mean far less to Marsh than the accomplishments that really count. In his four years at UNH, the program has not had any academically ineligible wrestlers.
"These kids have a cumulative 3.19 grade-point average, so I'm dealing with smart kids," Marsh said proudly. "We're looking at academics first. I let the kids choose the meets we compete in, so they can work their schedules around exams and projects."
It should be noted that UNH wrestling is a club team and receives no financial support from the university. They face many varsity programs, though, competing against the likes of UMass-Amherst, UConn, Yale, Dartmouth, Harvard €» you get the picture.
Marsh is probably nearing the end of his tenure with the Wildcats. How many more seasons that means is anyone's guess, but he is beginning to set the stage for the future of the program.
"I will be 66 soon, so depending on the assistant coaches I get, who knows?" Marsh said with a smile. "I've got two good ones coming in, though."
Marsh hopes to bring in a couple of his top wrestlers, seniors Matt Foley and Toomey, next year as assistants. Foley, of Kennebunk, Maine, and Toomey would both seem to fit the bill perfectly. Both are four-time collegiate national qualifiers, and both are the type of people Marsh has tried to bring into the program.
"They're good kids, and they're solid citizens," he said.
He feels close to, and tries to take care of, all of his wrestlers.
"They all have my cell phone number and home phone number and I tell them if they are ever in a place they feel uncomfortable, I'm there in 20 minutes," Marsh said. "I'll take you back to your dorm or apartment, no questions asked."
That kindness hasn't gone unnoticed.
"Henry's not only a coach, he's a mentor," Toomey said. "A lot of us ask him for career advice. He's just a super-nice guy."
Regardless of how much longer he leads the UNH wrestling team, Marsh has already left an indelible mark on the program. In the meantime, he'll await the results of the national coach of the year vote, hoping the team pulls out another big win.

Mike Sullivan is a Herald columnist. He can be reached at

Friday, April 9, 2010

Cony's Vallee earns high recognition after finishing 3rd at tournament


TJ Vallee set a new standard for Cony wrestlers when he achieved All-New England status at the New England Wrestling Tournament last weekend. The senior went 4-1 to place third in the 189-pound weight class. Vallee became the first Cony wrestler to earn a medal at the New England tournament.

click image to enlarge
BIG TIME: Cony High School’s TJ Vallee, top, earned All-New England status after finishing third in the New England Wrestling Tournament last weekend in New Haven, Conn. Vallee easily pinned Massachusetts’ Kyle Humphries, bottom, in 57 seconds in his second match of the tournament.
Contributed photo
The tournament, held at the New Haven Athletic Center in Connecticut, brought together top wrestlers from the six New England states. The top six finishers out of 22 entrants in each weight class earn All-New England status.
"TJ wrestled the best he ever has," Cony coach Shawn Totman said. "He had incredible motion and explosiveness on his feet whether trying to score or defending against his opponents' attacks. On bottom, I have never seen him move so fast in getting to his feet and gaining his escapes. No one had a prayer of holding him down to work a pinning combination. That is saying something when you look at how good every wrester is at a tournament like the New Englands. Every athlete competing is phenomenal."
Vallee opened the tournament with a 4-3 decision over Connecticut's Sean O'Connell.
"Mentally preparing for wrestling matches of this caliber was hard," Vallee said. "Every single match you wrestle has so much riding on it. I have never been to a New England tournament before so I didn't really know what to expect. But after I got my first win out of the way, I felt much better."
Vallee made short work of Massachusett's Kyle Humphries in the quarterfinals, catching him in a head and arm throw and securing a win by pin in 57 seconds.
Vallee lost a gut-wrenching semifinals match to Massachusett's top-ranked wrestler, Alex Najjar, by a 7-5 decision. The match was tied at 5-5 late in the third period when Najjar got a takedown to score the deciding points. Najjar would go on to win the championship.
Vallee battled back into the consolation finals by beating Connecticut's top-seeded Shane Battista, 5-2. He pinned long-time rival and fellow Mainer Tyler Russell of Morse High School in the consolation finals to finish in third place.
"Ironically, those two spent quite a bit of time practicing together to get ready for the New Englands," said Totman.
Totman was impressed by how well Vallee held up over the grueling two-day event. Four of Vallee's matches came on the second day of competition, according to Totman.
"I honestly thought his conditioning was the best of any of the kids he faced in the tournament," Totman said. "That is amazing considering he has had three weeks since his last competition and almost all the wrestlers he faced from the other states have seasons that take them right up to the New Englands."
Vallee had spent the weeks since the state championships practicing technique with Cony coaches and wrestling "live" (competitive situations) with Morse's two New England qualifiers, Russell and Arthur Cavanaugh (215), according to Totman. He also spent extensive time in the weight room.
"I don't think anybody in his weight class at New England's was stronger than TJ," Totman said.
"My ultimate goal was to win the tournament, but I'm extremely pleased with what I accomplished," Vallee said. "It's hard to believe my high school career is over, but I'm happy with the way it ended.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Let principals know opinions on sports cuts

If you want to voice your concerns about the recent Maine Principals' Association proposal on athletic program changes, you have an option:

Contact your school principals and share with them your ideas, suggestions and feeling regarding these changes. Let's be clear on this: You have to be involved and have an active voice, or else this plan will be implemented as proposed.
After 20 years of non-participation, Maine re-entered the high school wrestling New England Tournament a few years ago after much hard and dedicated work by parents and supporters of our sport. Here are some questions to ponder:
1. Has projected dollar savings been documented by dropping out of the NET?
2. Have other options to cover these costs been explored?
3. When the economic situation changes, will these restrictions be removed?
4. What statistics demonstrate support for these changes and who supporters it?
5. Have concerned parties had an opportunity to offer input to the MPA committee?
6. What options have been defined to encourage college recruiters to view competitors for college placement if Maine drops from the NET?
If balanced options can be defined that are fair for all, let's factor those into the decisions and pursue an implementation that will benefit all concerned: students, parents, schools, administrators and the MPA.
More heads thinking outside the box may offer some very creative and workable solutions. We need to have our school administrators listen, and we have to know we've been listened to. Be part of the solution, get involved.
John D. Cole

Friday, March 12, 2010

Nothing he wants more than a fourth state title


— By

click image to enlarge
John Patriquin/ Staff Photographer: Tuesday,December, 2, 2008. Massabesic HS wrestler Joey Eon.
Staff Writer
Since 1959, when the Maine Principals' Association began sanctioning high school wrestling, only 11 wrestlers have won four individual state titles.
This season, Joey Eon of Massabesic intends to become the 11th.
''I know quite a few of the guys who have won four state titles, and I think it would be a big achievement to do what they did,'' he said. ''All those guys were among the big names among wrestlers in this state. Just to be in that group would be a big accomplishment for me. It would be pretty cool.''
Last season, Jon Hussey of Marshwood and Chris Smith of Deering became the first Class A wrestlers in nearly 30 years to win four state titles.
''It's a pretty big deal and I'm really pumped for it,'' Eon said. ''It's always been one of my goals. As a freshman, once I won my first one, I said I had to win this four times.''
Eon's first three individual titles came at 140 pounds. This season he'll compete at 145.
''(Being at) 140 was a big cut for me last year, and I didn't want to cut as much weight this year because I wanted to remain strong,'' Eon said.
Less than six weeks ago, as the star running back for Massabesic, Eon weighed 165 pounds.
In 10 games, Eon had 1,473 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns as the Mustangs reached the Western Class A quarterfinals. He was selected as one of the 11 semifinalists for the Fitzpatrick Award.
''He wrestles in the offseason, which helps him a lot,'' Massabesic wrestling coach Rick DeRosier said. ''He comes into a season, and in usually 21/2, three weeks, he's ready to go.''
Not only is Eon seeking his fourth title, but he wants to help the Mustangs claim their third consecutive Class A team title.
''I like having good wrestlers around me,'' Eon said. ''Having guys like that around you helps you work out and helps you get better.''
Eon's chief workout partner is Peter Gilman, a senior who won the Class A title at 135 pounds as a sophomore and was runner-up at that weight last season.
''I think the stuff Joe does is amazing,'' Gilman said. ''He's a great wrestler. He's a great all-around kid and athlete.''
Gilman said the entire team shares in Eon's achievements.
''Every year he won states, it felt like a win for me, too, because I'm right there working with him all the time,'' Gilman said. ''I definitely think we would not be as good as we are if it wasn't for each other. We just push each other to the max.''
This is the first season Eon hasn't had his older brother, Josh, with him. A two-time Class A state champion, Josh Eon is now a student at the University of Southern Maine.
''There was competition between us and we fed off that,'' Eon said. ''Without him this year I think I'll be fine. I'll just take what I've learned the past three years and bring it to this last season.''
Eon isn't the only wrestler this season with a chance for four individual championships.
Travis Spencer of Belfast, who is seeking his third consecutive Class B title at 189 after winning the 160-pound division as a freshman, also can accomplish the feat.
The Class A, B and C state championship meets will be held simultaneously Feb. 7 at the Augusta Civic Center. The finals in all three classes of the 145-pound division will be held before the 189-pound championship matches.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Within her grasp


— By

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Krista Pearce has come so very close to a Class B individual state title the last two years, losing in the finals. Now, as a senior at Camden Hills, Pearce is ready to become the first girl to win a state individual wrestling championship.
John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

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Krista Pearce is working to get back to a more offensive style for her senior year. While a skilled wrestler, Pearce is considered very strong as well.
John Patriquin/Staff Photographer
Staff Writer
ROCKPORT: Krista Pearce comes into her final high school wrestling season aware it is her last chance to make history.
A senior at Camden Hills Area High School, Pearce knows it is her last shot to become the first girl to win an individual state high school wrestling championship in Maine.
Pearce, who has always competed at 103 pounds, the lightest of high school wrestling's 14 weight classes, has come close twice before.
In 2005, Carlin Dubay of Caribou had to go into overtime to pull out a sudden-death win against Pearce in the championship final at the Class B state meet.
Last February, Dubay pinned Pearce in the final second of the second period to retain his state title.
Pearce is the only Maine girl to finish among the top four wrestlers in three consecutive high school state meets. If she advances this season to the final in the Class B meet, which will be held Feb. 16 at Mountain Valley High School in Rumford, her old nemesis could be her opponent again.
''It would be awesome if I could wins states, but it would be great if I could beat him because he has been my only real big obstacle,'' Pearce said.
Dubay began the regular season, which opened on Saturday, by competing in the 112-pound weight class.
''He's at 106 now, but he'll be at 103 by the end of the season,'' Caribou Coach Todd Albert said.
To reach her goal of capturing a state title, Pearce intends to make some changes in her approach on the mat.
''Last year, I had more of a down year. I wasn't as competitive as I wanted to be,'' she said. ''This year, I'm planning on getting my shot back. When I was younger I used to have a killer shot. I want to get that back.''
While in the upright position, wrestlers go on the offensive by shooting at the legs of their opponents for a takedown.
''I could lift them right up on my shoulders and dump them down right on their backs for the takedown,'' Pearce said. ''I was really good at it, but then I kind of let it go and went to the defensive mode. I want to get that back.''
Levi Rollins, a former Camden Hills wrestler in his first season at coach of the Windjammers, also wants Pearce to change her approach.
''I'd like to see her become more offensive,'' he said. ''I think she will be do better than to wait for someone to shoot on her.''
While she has excellent technique as a wrestler, Rollins said Pearce wins a lot of her matches by outmuscling her opponents.
''She is actually pretty overpowering for a girl, especially at 103,'' he said. ''She's very strong for her size and weight. She can win a lot of matches because of her strength. It helps her out a lot.''
Pearce's final quest for a state wrestling crown comes two seasons after Deanna Rix of Marshwood came within a point of becoming the first girl to win an individual Maine high school wrestling title.
Shane Leadbetter of Sanford edged Rix, 2-1, in double overtime in the finals of the 130-pound division at the 2005 Class A state meet.
A fiery competitor, Rix trains at the United States Olympic Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., and competes for the New York Athletic Club. Currently, she is ranked eighth among U.S. women in the 63-kilogram (138.5-pound) division.
Pearce seems cut from the same competitive mold.
''I want to make sure I get myself all riled up before matches again,'' Pearce said. ''I'm going to do that this year because I want to win the states. It's what I've been working for my whole wrestling career.''
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 725-8795 or at:

From young and restless to young and a wrestler


Staff Writer
Deanna Rix is getting a second chance to wrestle for her country, and seems to be making the most of it.
After being out of USA Wrestling's training program for more than two years, the former Marshwood High standout is attending the organization's winter training camp in Colorado.
Rix, 21, is preparing to wrestle in the Dave Schultz memorial tournament Feb. 5-8 in Colorado Springs, Colo., with a chance to represent the United States in the six-team World Cup on March 21-22 in Fuzhou, China.
''It seems like she's turned over a new leaf and got her priorities right, and we're looking to bring her back,'' said Terry Steiner, the U.S. women's coach. ''She's really a changed person, from an attitude standpoint and all the way around.''
In 2005, Rix nearly became the first female to win a state title while wrestling against boys.
In her third trip to the Class A state wrestling championships, she lost with four seconds left in double overtime to Shane Leadbetter of Sanford to finish second in the 130-pound division.
In 2006, Rix's high school success resulted in an invitation to train with the U.S. women's team in Colorado.
But Steiner said a lack of commitment on Rix's part ultimately led to her release from the program.
For a time, Rix trained on her own. At one point last year, she even considered giving up wrestling.
''I got away from wrestling for a couple of months and I sort of lost my focus,'' she said. ''It took that for me to realize how much I really liked wrestling.''
''Sometimes people need to lose something to realize what they miss,'' Steiner said. ''Fortunately for her, there's a second chance to get it right this time.''
For Rix, the turnaround began last August when she won her weight class at the U.S. team trials in Colorado.
Last October, Rix went 2-2 to finish fifth in the 58-kilogram (130 pounds) division in her first trip to the world championships in Tokyo.
Last November, Rix was named the meet's outstanding wrestler while winning her weight class in the New York International Holiday tournament.
''That was the first time at the senior level I was named outstanding wrestler of the meet, and it was awesome,'' she said. ''I used to get it all the time in high school while wrestling guys, and I used to think it was because I was a girl and I beat the guys. But this was at a girls' tournament.''
While wrestling for Marshwood, Rix won more than 100 matches, all against boys.
''When you're young and you've had so much success, sometimes you do something because you're just good at it,'' Steiner said. ''Then you start doing it for the right reasons because you realize it's something you want to pursue.''
Rix has returned to USA Wrestling's training program with a renewed focus.
''It's just the little things, like her wanting to watch film or her willingness to do some extra things,'' Steiner said. ''I think she's just grown up a little.''
Rix said her brief time away from the sport made her realize how important wrestling is to her.
''I think I needed to take some time off and really think about what I was doing,'' she said.
Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Wells' Gamache places second at Maine Girls Wrestling Invitational

Deanna Gamache ended an historic season with the Wells High School wrestling team by placing second in the 115-pound weight class at the Maine Girls Wrestling Invitational at Gardiner High School on Feb. 16.
Wells coach Scott Lewia said Gamache went 2-1. She lost by pinfall in the championship round to Amber Libby of McAuley.
Although she doesn't have a title to her name, Gamache has set the bar pretty high for girls at Wells. She is the first female wrestler at the school to win a match, she is the first to wrestle all four years of her career at the school and has the most wins for a girl in school history with more than 30.
Lewia said she went 11-10 this year.
"She was pretty solid for us all year," Lewia said.
One disadvantage Gamache had was, when she wrestled against the boys she landed in the 112-pound weight class. That spot in the Warriors' lineup was occupied by three-time defending state champion Vanya Tomaszewski, so Gamache didn't see much varsity action and when she did it was at 119 pounds sometimes.
Still, she managed to stick with it. Rather it was with the junior varsity squad or on the varsity team, Gamache kept plugging away win, lose or draw.
Lewia said Gamache was raw when she started as a freshman, but had certain natural traits that helped her wrestling.
"She's really flexible," Lewia said. "It's hard to pin her."
As the years moved along, however, Gamache developed in to a more rounded wrestler and started to pick up more wins.
"In the last couple of years she started to use moves," Lewia said.
Because Gamache wrestled with the junior varsity squad so often, Lewia didn't get much of a chance to see her in action. He did go to Gardiner to watch the tournament and was impressed with what he saw.
"It was the first time I saw her against other girls," Lewia said. "She did well. She did really well."

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Top 10 Moments in Amateur Wrestling from 2000-2009

By Jacob Schlottke , Contributor

10. (2009) Cael Sanderson Leaves ISU for Penn State

When Cael Sanderson left Iowa State and headed to State College, Pennsylvania he left the college wrestling world stunned. While many reasons were tossed around for his decision to make the move only one thing is certain: Sanderson thought he could accomplish more at PSU and until he proves me wrong, this is a major moment in collegiate wrestling.

9. (2009) Darrion Caldwell upsets Brent Metcalf

Entering the match, Brent Metcalf had never lost a match during his illustrious high school wrestling career (228-0) and during the first three years of his collegiate experience he had just one defeat (87-1) which was at the hands of Caldwell during their 2008 campaign. What happened next shocked everyone except perhaps Caldwell. The NC State giant killer hit a low single just five seconds into the match to score his first takedown and never trailed en route to a dominant 11-6 victory over what will become one of the greatest college wrestlers of all time.

8. (2001) The Emergenceof  Minnesota Golden Gopher Wrestling

Heading into 1999, the Golden Gophers had not won a Big Ten title in 40 years. After jumping that hurdle just before the 2000's with a win at the 1999 tournament, they took just two more seasons to capture the team's first ever National title in 2001 and tacked on another title the following season. The Gophers won half of the Big Ten titles in the decade and added a third National title in 2007.

7. (2002) The Rise and Fall of Real Pro Wrestling

After a moderately successful first season, RPW was slated to begin a second season, sponsorships began falling into place and they began qualifiers for season two's main event. This is when it all seemed to fall apart. According to co-founders Matt Case and Toby Willis, the business partners they had hired to help manage the day to day operations of RPW attempted to gain control of the company by going behind their back and make major changes to the events that Case and Willis did not agree with. Rather than going against their beliefs and 'selling out' they decided to put the show on hold indefinitely.

6. (2007) The Creation of &

As the cost to put video online began to shrink, high speed Internet access became common place throughout most of America, and development costs for robust web applications became pocket change, the wrestling community was treated with two progressive websites that pushed wrestling to another level.

FloWrestling was founded by brothers Martin and Mark Floreani as part of FloCasts, a social media website with a focus on video coverage. Over the course of the past three years, FloWrestling has continued to carve a niche into the wrestling video market with excellent coverage of some of the sports most intimate moments. With camera in hand, the much beloved "JoeFlo" (We're not sure if he was adopted.. Wink ), travels the globe seeking out the best stories for the best sport in the world. A couple of their most notable captures have been the 2007 World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.

TheWrestlingTalk has grown to the most heavily trafficked wrestling website in the world on the shoulders of the community that helped start it. With a dedication to friendly discussion, TWT has seen substantial growth year over year. Founder Shane Jensen and lead moderator Chad Wiltsey have perfected the art of providing the wrestling community with all of the information they need all in one place.

Since starting as a forum, TheWrestlingTalk has morphed into a full fledged wrestling outlet providing wrestling technique, weight training & dieting logs, wrestling gear , event videos, a wrestling clubs review system, and a dedicated "Questions & Answers" Forum for coaches and wrestlers alike.

5. (2008) The New Iowa Era under Tom Brands

Brands' departure from Virginia Tech was marred with controversy, but his results since moving back to his home have been nothing but exceptional. In just a few short years, Coach Brands has created a dynasty that is likely to be only over shadowed by his predecessor, Dan Gable. After an eighth place finish at the NCAA Tournament in his first year as head coach at Iowa, he has gone on to win two NCAA titles and is yet to lose another Big Ten dual. As a team, Brands has created a titan that is feared in just about every gym they enter and are expected to repeat once again as National Champions.

4. (2001) Nick Ackerman wins Hodge Trophy

Seldom is there a more heroic story than that of 2001 Dan Hodge trophy winner Nick Ackerman. Ackerman won the 2001 NCAA D3 title by defeating Nick Slack 13-11 in the finals, but that wasn't the most impressive part. Nor was it the fact that Slack entered the match on a 60 match win streak dating back to mid-season the previous year when he went on to win the National title.

The most impressive part of his title was that Ackerman won it without his legs. As a young boy (1 1/2 years old) his legs were amputated to prevent a disease that threatened to kill him. "Don't call me disabled, call me a National Champion." - Nick Ackerman

3. (2008) Henry Cejudo becomes youngest Olympic Champion in US History

Foregoing a college wrestling career to focus on freestyle, the young Cejudo entered the Olympics as an extreme underdog with a bright future — his time to shine was not supposed to be 2008. That didn't stop the son of undocumented Mexican immigrants who had been trained to fight against the odds his entire life. Cejudo's parents risked their lives to find their way to a better way of life for their children and Henry, at the young age of 21, has already proven the risk to be worth it. After winning the gold in Beijing, Cejudo has traveled the country telling his story and recently released a book detailing his life titled "American Victory ".

2. (2000) Rulon Gardner defeats Alexander Karelin for Olympic Gold

In what was arguably the most amazing upset in all of sports, the unheralded American heavyweight from Afton, Wyoming upended the most dominant and feared heavyweight wrestler in the history of the sport. In a truly "David vs. Goliath" moment, Karelin surrendered the first point he had allowed in the past six years to Gardner, who ended up handing Karelin his first loss in over 13 years of International competition.

1. (2002) Cael Sanderson's Completes Undefeated Career

With mounting pressure and Dan Gable's final match undoubtedly in the back of his mind, Cael Sanderson completed one of the most remarkable feats in sport. Remaining perfect for just one season in NCAA wrestling is rare. But preventing injuries, avoiding illness, improving constantly, and remaining flawless for four straight years at the Division 1 college level seems almost impossible. Cael had his share of close matches, including a 4-3 decision over Minnesota freshman Damian Hahn. However, Sanderson always found a way to win and for that, his undefeated career is my top pick for "Top 10 Wrestling Moments of the Decade" .

Sunday, January 10, 2010

York High girl earns 100th wrestling victory

By Jay Pinsonnault

Reaha Goyetche has wrestled in many tournaments in her three-plus years as a member of the York High School wrestling team.

During that time, the 103-pound senior always thought it was "cool" when the tournament director announced over the public address system someone had just earned their 100th career varsity victory.

Goyetche heard her own name be honored Saturday during the annual Kennebunk Duals.

York head coach Wally Caldwell thought it was ironic that Goyetche, who competes against boys about 75 to 80 percent of the time, earned her milestone victory against a girl — beating Mountain Valley's Nicole Burgess.

"I have heard a lot of names be called out for 100 wins over the years," Goyetche said, "it was cool to hear my name be called out."

Caldwell couldn't have been happier for his senior captain.

"It was magical, it really was," Caldwell said. "She's in a special place. Not more than a handful of girls have reached that milestone, which makes it extra special. Getting 100 wins is tough. You have to stay healthy, stay on weight, which is tough, especially for a girl, and wrestle well for four years."

Goyetche is the fifth Wildcat to reach the 100-win plateau and the first girl.

"I think being the fifth overall means more to me than being the first girl, because there haven't been many girl wrestlers at York," Goyetche said.

Goyetche joins current teammate Billy Gauthier, and Ray Gauthier, Dan Towers and Brian Carl on the York's 100-win club.

Caldwell has coached the Wildcats wrestling program since its inception in 1995 and only remembers two girls from the state of Maine to reach 100 wins during that time, Deanna Rix of Marshwood and Kirsten Pierce of Camden Hills.

"She's on a pretty short list, especially during my tenure," Caldwell said. "What she (Reaha) does in practice every day is mind-boggling. It's how tough she is in practice and not the just the meets. It's what she does in the offseason and how focused she is on what she wants to do. She's so well-respected by her school and her teammates."

Goyetche started thinking she had a chance at reaching 100 wins after last season.

"My coaches and my dad told me how many (wins) I had compared to how many matches I would have this year and I said I should be able to get it," Goyetche.

One thing she knows is she is glad she can just concentrate on the next match and not how many wins she needs to reach 100.

"It's really exciting to get it, but it's nice to be past it now and just focus on wrestling," Goyetche said.

Goyetche won the Western Maine Class B tournament last season at 103 pounds and was fourth at the state meet. She hopes to repeat as regional champion this season and improve on her state placement.

"I would be very, very surprised to win state," Goyetche said. "I hope I finish in the top three."

Goyetche is attending Bowdoin College in the fall, and it doesn't have a wrestling program.

"It would be cool to wrestle in college, but it's OK it's over with after this year — I guess," Goyetche said.