Midcoast wrestlers Connor McGonagle and Daniel Weiss earned trophies at the Tournament of Champions youth wrestling event April 24-25 in Columbus, Ohio.

McGonagle, who wrestles for Rockland, earned a first-place trophy in the elementary division, while Weiss, a Belfast Lion wrestler, secured a second-place trophy in the middle school division.

Weiss and McGonagle were members of the New England Mavericks, a team based in the Midcoast. The team had more than 35 wrestlers split between elementary and middle school levels. Six of the wrestlers were from Maine. Most of the other young athletes came from the other New England states.

The team was newly formed, with the goal of fielding a competitive team at one of the most challenging tournaments in the country. All wrestlers had to qualify to participate in the tournament and the team was filled with league, state and New England champions.

The wrestlers continued their training programs after their school league competitions had ended. Prior to the tournament, the team met twice for training sessions in New Hampshire. The team was fortunate enough to have some of the best coaches from Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island participate, said Robert Weiss of the Mavericks. Some of the families and coaches drove more than 15 hours to be able to participate.

The Tournament of Champions is one of the largest and most prestigious wrestling tournaments in the country. This year there were more than 2,500 wrestlers registered. There were 22 teams present in the elementary class and 26 in the middle school class.

Robert Weiss said nearly all of the teams represented “powerhouse” wrestling clubs from the top wrestling states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, and Maryland. These teams have been in existence for years and feature their own training facilities and a large base of elite wrestlers within easy driving distance, he said.

“At least one of these teams provided their own high end bus as transportation for the team,” Robert Weiss said. “The Mavericks shared none of these luxuries, but did share a strong desire to win and a willingness to work extremely hard. They also shared an extraordinary camaraderie in spite of the fact that these wrestlers hardly knew each other.

“Some of the wrestlers came from bigger cities, some from small towns, from Midcoast Maine to southern Connecticut, with a handful of non-New England wrestlers thrown in. This was the first year that a team represented New England at the tournament and the wrestlers truly did gel as a team.”

On April 24, all the wrestlers participated in the individual phase of the tournament. The competition was structured as an individual tournament, not a team dual structure. Each wrestlers’ individual score was tabulated and added up to form a team score. Based on that system, the Mavericks took first in their division at the elementary level and second in their division at the middle school level.

The Mavericks did not do as well in the dual-meets on April 25, but both teams still managed to place, thereby earning medals to go with their trophies from the previous day.

VillageSoup sports staff can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at sports@villagesoup.com.