HERMON, Maine — The Hermon Hawks Summer Wrestling Tournament has long been a successful fundraising effort for the high school wrestling team in this community.
But that effort has taken on even greater importance this year, with the USA Wrestling-sanctioned event scheduled for Saturday, June 29, at Hermon Elementary School.
Like many high school wrestling programs statewide, the Hermon team has faced declining participation numbers.
While Hermon has routinely fielded 14 to 15 wrestlers in recent years, according to athletic administrator Paul Soucy, last winter’s squad began with 10 participants and concluded its season with just six.
The program’s funding subsequently was a victim of school budget cuts this spring, but varsity wrestling was given approval to be continued as an unfunded sport.
That means the wrestling team must raise its own money to pay for such expenses as transportation, meet officials and coaching salaries.
“We basically need about $10,000 to run the program for a year,” said Hermon wrestling coach Corey Staples.
The program does have some money left in an account from previous fundraising efforts, and it also will use the proceeds from its summer wrestling tournament, concession sales from meets it hosts during the winter season, and a planned spring youth wrestling tournament to help defray its costs.
The Hermon wrestling team has received significant support in recent weeks from Young’s MMA, a training facility in Bangor that will sponsor and direct the summer wrestling tournament.
“Young’s MMA stepping forward as a corporate sponsor for this tournament really gives us a boost,” said Soucy.
Mark Heathcote, a former state champion wrestler from Central High School in Corinth who trained with the Hermon squad during his competitive career, is now a wrestling official as well as the head wrestling coach at Young’s.
“We just want to support Hermon wrestling and try to help them raise some money,” he said.
Competition will be held in pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade divisions beginning at 8 a.m., followed by middle school, high school and open divisions at 11 a.m.
Most divisions will feature a round-robin format depending on the number of participants.
Registrations continue to be accepted for the meet, with interested persons encouraged to visit Young’s MMA at 1576 Hammond St., Unit E, Cushman Plaza, in Bangor or call 947-5170.
Registration cost is $15 to compete in one division or $20 for two divisions by June 26, and $20 for one division or $25 for two divisions at the door.
In addition, all competitors must be registered with USA Wrestling, and one-year memberships will be available at the meet for those who don’t already have them for an additional cost of $10.