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


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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."