Friday, March 7, 2014
BY TERRY DEVEREAUX
The Skowhegan Area High School wrestling team blew away the competition at the Eastern A Regional tournament this season. Ten wrestlers advanced to the championship finals and the Indians scored 85 points more than their closest rivals.
It was a dominating performance during a season in which Skowhegan went 21-1 in dual meets, won two regular season tournaments and also won the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship. The Indians went on to finish third a the Class A state championships meet.
For leading their team to an outstanding season, Brooks Thompson and Tenney Noyes, Skowhegan's co-coaches, have been named the Kennebec Journal/ Morning Sentinel Coaches of the Year. Nokomis Regional High School's Scott Preble was also considered.
The Indians benefitted from a schedule that focused more on tournaments, rather than dual meets, during the regular season, according to Noyes.
"We lacked tournament experience," Noyes said. "In the past, (end-of-season) tourney time has seemed to overwhelm our younger wrestlers.
"This year we were able to wrestle in some outstanding tournaments, which gave our wrestlers a great gauge of where they stood and what they needed to do to reach that next level."
Skowhegan placed fourth at the highly-competitive Noble Tournament and won the Nokomis Tournament as well as its own 14-team Skowhegan Tournament.
Thompson is quick to credit a group of parents, relatives, friends, and other boosters with making the Skowhegan program a success.
"We have a great wrestling community that works very hard and helps out program. I could not ask for a better group of people to work with," Thompson said. "Our assistant coaches, Devin Provencal and Dave Bell, do a lot for our boys and make our jobs much easier"
While acting as co-coaches is a relative rarity in the wrestling world, the two make it work, according to senior Levi Hayden.
"They both have unique traits that make them great coaches," Hayden said. "Coach Noyes stresses conditioning and match situation awareness while Coach Thompson is the more technical coach. He fine tunes our skills to perfection."
However, Hayden says that the duo's influence goes far beyond the mats.
"What makes them, in my opinion, the best coaching staff in Maine, is that they are so much more than coaches," he said. "They are like father figures to us. They have taken us under their wing both in and out of the wrestling room. This year's team was the closest group of guys I've ever been around. We are a family, as corny as it may sound. Skowhegan wrestling is on the upswing, largely due to those two men. They made wrestling so much more than a sport for us."