Reigning state champions Skowhegan and Nokomis of Newport as well as two visiting programs from upstate New York will be among the participants in a preseason field hockey jamboree hosted by the John Bapst of Bangor team at the University of Maine in Orono this Friday and Saturday.
Seven different schools will be involved in the event organized by John Bapst coach Gina Schuck, with South Portland and Brewer also in the field.
Schuck, in her 15th year with the Crusaders, was born in upstate New York and returned to that area with her team for preseason games the last two years against such opponents as Maine-Endwell High School of Endwell, N.Y., and Greene Central High School.
“After last year I asked them if they’d like to come to Maine this year,” said Schuck. “We’re all pretty excited about these teams coming up here to play.”
The Maine-Endwell and Greene high school teams will travel to Maine on Thursday, then participate in two days of games at UMaine, where John Bapst plays its home games.
The Greene team will stay with the family of John Bapst team members and sisters Elise and Emily Tilton, an arrangement that will reunite Elise Tilton with a Junior Olympic teammate from earlier this year, Greene player Emily Conroe.
The Maine-Endwell contingent will stay with the family of John Bapst teammates and sisters Lauren and Courtney Prue.
Games begin at 8 a.m. Friday with John Bapst facing Maine-Endwell, followed by South Portland against Greene at 9 a.m.
After lunch, the afternoon session will have South Portland against Maine-Endwell at 1 p.m. and John Bapst against Greene at 2 p.m. in games involving coaching matchups between current coaches and two of their former players. Schuck played on an Empire State Games team coached by current Greene Central High School coach Sue Carlin. New South Portland coach Leslie Perreault is a Maine-Endwell High School graduate where she played under Heather Doyle, who is still the head coach at that school.
After dinner Friday, the teams then will watch the University of Maine field hockey team play its season opener against Northeastern at 6 p.m.
Six games are scheduled for Saturday, including two matching Skowhegan — winner of nine Class A state championships in the last 10 years — against the visiting New York teams. Coach Paula Doughty’s Indians will square off against Maine-Endwell at 11 a.m. and against Greene at 1 p.m.
Other games Saturday have Brewer against John Bapst at noon, Class B state champion Nokomis against Brewer at 2 p.m., Skowhegan against John Bapst at 3 p.m. and Skowhegan against Nokomis at 4 p.m.
Maine’s high school field hockey regular season begins next Wednesday, with John Bapst opening its schedule with a 7 p.m. home game that evening against Stearns of Millinocket.
Wrestling weight classes changed
High school wrestling will have a different look next winter with the recent approval of the 14 weight classes for the coming season by the National Federation of State High School Associations.
In what has been described as the most significant changes in weight classes in 23 years, the NFHS’ Wrestling Rules Committee approved an upward shift beginning with the increase of the 103-pound class to 106, a shift that resulted in changes to 10 of the 14 classes.
The new weight classes, to be implemented for the 2011-12 season are the following: 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220 and 285.
That compares to the weight classes used last winter: 103, 112, 119, 125, 130, 135, 140, 145, 152, 160, 171, 189, 215 and 285.
“The change in weight classes resulted from a three- to four-year process utilizing data from the National Wrestling Coaches Association Optimal Performance Calculator,” said Dale Pleimann, chair of the NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee and former assistant executive director of the Missouri State High School Activities Association, in a press release.
“The rules committee was able to analyze data from almost 200,000 wrestlers across the country, with the goal to create weight classes that have approximately 7 percent of the wrestlers in each weight class.
“Throughout the process, each state association was kept completely informed and was provided multiple opportunities for input. The results of the last survey of each state association indicated that the majority of states favored a change, and the committee listened and acted accordingly.”
The last major shift in weight classes occurred in 1988, when the lowest weight class was increased from 98 to 103 pounds. The only other changes since then were in 2002 when the number of classes were increased from 13 to 14 and the 215-pound weight class became mandatory, and in 2006, when the 275-pound class was increased to 285 pounds.