One of the more compelling matchups of the high school wrestling dual-meet season is scheduled for this evening at Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport.
That’s where the Windjammers will host Belfast in a battle of programs that have been at the top of the state Class B ranks throughout the decade and are ranked among the top five teams in Maine regardless of class again this season.
Defending state champion Belfast is off to a fast start again this fall, including a win Saturday at the 14-school McDonald’s Mountain Valley Tournament in Rumford.
The Lions scored 196 points to shade Class C powers Lisbon (178.5) and Dirigo of Dixfield (128). Host Mountain Valley, a traditional Western B power, was fourth with 106 points.
Belfast won individual championships in five of the 14 weight classes: Jordan Young (112), John Seekins (119), Zach Shellabarger (152), Kote Aldus (160) and Travis Spencer (189); while Josh Robbins (125) and Mark Smith (215) each finished second.
Camden Hills is less experienced this season than a Belfast team that graduated just two seniors from its championship squad, but coach Levi Rollins’ Windjammers are deep in numbers and has quality in many weight classes, including the lower-middle weights with Zach Fields (130 pounds), Brandon Rich (135), Jacob Powers (140) and Jack Simpkins (145).
Tourney schedule revised
Tourney time isn’t all that far away, less than two months to be exact.
The Eastern Maine B, C and D tourney begins Feb. 13 at the Bangor Auditorium with a bit of a twist from previous years.
Recent years have had the tourney open with afternoon and evening Class B doubleheaders on the first Friday, but this season’s tourney will begin with a single-admission tripleheader on Friday the 13th, according to tournament co-director Bill Fletcher.
Girls quarterfinals are set for 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., followed by a boys quarterfinal at 8 p.m.
The additional boys quarterfinal previously held on the first Friday instead will open a seven-game day on Feb. 14.
The new Saturday schedule will feature three sessions, a two-game Class B morning session with games at 9:05 and 10:35 a.m., a three-game Class B afternoon session with games at 1:35, 3 and 4:30 p.m., and a two-game Class D evening session with games at 7:35 and 9:05 p.m.
The previous format scheduled Friday’s first game for 3 p.m., requiring the teams to leave school early that day to play at a time often difficult for parents and fans of the two participating teams to attend.
The format for the rest of the Eastern B, C and D tourney schedule remains the same as in previous years, Fletcher said.
Championship Saturday, with regional finals in all three classes, is scheduled for Feb. 21, with Class D finals in the morning, Class B finals in the afternoon and Class C finals in the evening.
One other high school basketball tournament scheduling note of interest: There will be no tourney games in March.
The Class B state finals are scheduled at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland on Feb. 27.
State championship games in Classes C and D will be held in Bangor on Feb. 28, while the Class A finals will be held the same day at the Augusta Civic Center, with the boys game at 4 p.m. and the girls game to follow at 7 p.m.
Campbell wins volleyball honor
Michaela Campbell of Greely of Cumberland Center has been named the 2008-09 Gatorade Maine Volleyball Player of the Year.
The 5-foot-7 junior outside hitter had 148 digs and 123 kills this season in helping the Rangers compile an 18-1 record and win their sixth consecutive state championship.
A two-time, first-team All-Maine selection, Campbell also served 30 aces and made 14 blocks this season.
She had 16 digs, seven kills, three blocks and three aces during Greely’s state championship match victory over Mount Desert Island of Bar Harbor.
Campbell joins recent Gatorade Maine Volleyball Players of the Year Marian Grover of MDI (2006-07 and 2007-08) and Michelle Ferry of Woodland (2005-06) among the state’s list of former award winners.