Jacob Powers didn’t necessarily plan on having an unbeaten senior season on the wrestling mat.
But given that the 160-pound powerhouse from Camden Hills of Rockport began the season as the defending Class B state champion in his weight class, it wouldn’t have been surprising if he felt that way.
And now that’s he’s 27-0 heading into Saturday’s three-class state championship meet at the Augusta Civic Center, Powers figures he might as well finish off the job.
“The only way I win another state championship now is if I stay undefeated,” he said, “so I’d like to go undefeated.”
Powers is the latest in a long line of Camden Hills wrestling standouts who have led the Windjammers to 12 Class B state championships — the most recent a year ago.
He finished third in the state at 140 pounds as a freshman in 2008 and second at 145 as a sophomore before winning it all at 160 last winter.
This year he has already been named the most outstanding wrestler at the Redskin Invitational hosted by Sanford High School after outlasting Nate Lawrence of New Hampshire wrestling power Timberlane High School 4-3 in their three-overtime final.
Powers also was named the most outstanding Class B wrestler at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships won by the Windjammers when he outpointed previously undefeated Brandon Corson of Skowhegan 5-0 in their championship final.
Corson is the only opponent Powers has failed to pin in seven postseason matches.
Powers credits some of his success to the cross-training he does during football season, where he had similar success last fall while rushing for nearly 1,500 yards in leading the second-year Camden Hills varsity squad to a 4-4 regular-season record and its first postseason berth.
“All the sprinting and running and weightlifting gets you ready for wrestling, because you’ve got to be in shape right at the start of the season,” said Powers, who is 135-25 for his career at Camden Hills with 64 pins. “And the quickness you develop in football helps you in wrestling. It helps you get in there quicker for the shots, and then it helps you get behind for two (points).”
Powers is part of a deep Camden Hills squad that will attempt to add another state title to the Eastern B and KVAC championships it has won the last two weeks.
The Windjammers have qualified wrestlers in 13 of the 14 weight classes, including individual regional winners Powers, Tom Cassidy (130 pounds), Max Bragg (135), Rhett Chase (215) and Jacob Halberg (285).
“A lot of guys stepped up (last) week,” said Powers, who hopes to wrestle at the Division I college level next year at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania. “We’ve got someone in all but one of the weight classes, so I feel pretty good about our chances (at the states).”
Camden Hills will be challenged by Belfast, second to the Windjammers at both the Eastern B and KVAC meets, as well as Western B champion Mountain Valley of Rumford.
Belfast qualified 11 wrestlers for the states, including regional champs Evan Drinkwater (103), Jordan Young (119), Brent Waterman (125), Justin Philbrook (145), Kornealius Wood (171) and Peter Kelley (189). Mountain Valley will send a 12-wrestler contingent to Augusta, including Western B winners Ryan Burgess (112), Cody Magoon (125), Josh Thornton (145), Taylor Carey (171), Josh Allen (189), Christian Durland (215) and Ryan Glover (285).
In Class C, Lisbon is the three-time defending state champion, but the Greyhounds will be challenged by Western Maine rival Dirigo of Dixfield and Eastern Maine powers Foxcroft Academy and Dexter.
Lisbon returns four defending state champs, including 119-pound senior Forrest Cornell, who will bid to become a four-time state champion.
Foxcroft won last weekend’s Class C qualifying meet, bouncing back from a narrow loss at the Penobscot Valley Conference championships to outpoint second-place Dirigo 181.5-178.5. Coach Luis Ayala’s Ponies qualified 11 wrestlers for the state meet, including qualifying-meet champions Mark Smith (112), Trevor Weymouth (125), Wesley Stinson (152) and Zach Smith (160). Mark Smith was the Class C state champion at 103 pounds a year ago.
Dirigo will have a meet-leading 13 wrestlers at states, led by D.J. Webber (160), Caleb Hall (119), Adam Gill (130) and Nelson Pepin, all winners a week ago.
Dexter’s contingent includes Dillon Garnett (103), Tyler Salsbury (112), Aaron Webber (125), Vincent Malinauskas (135), Andrew Levensalor (140), Christopher King (215) and Kyle Lockhart (285).
In Class A, Noble of North Berwick, winner of two straight state titles and 10 in the last 12 years, qualified wrestlers in all 14 weight classes while winning the Western A regional. The Knights boast six regional champions in Shane Shibles (130), Tyler Beaudet (135), Ben Valencia (140), Joseph Badger (145), Jonathan Badger (160) and Micah Lewis (189).
Western Maine rival Massabesic of Waterboro figures to be Noble’s chief challenger, while Mt. Blue of Farmington and Westbrook are the top Eastern Maine threats.
Brewer will send six wrestlers to the state meet, led by 285-pound regional champion Marcus Eaton.