The sound of the referee’s whistle blowing echoing through the gymnasium. Hundreds of fans screaming support for their team. The sound of the referee’s hand slamming to the mat to signify a victory by pin.

While obviously a team sport, wrestling weighs heavily on the achievements of individual student-athletes as each participant’s matches have bearing not only on their own personal records, but on the points each team receives.

Many of the most talented Midcoast grapplers will now be honored as 17 individuals will be showcased as VillageSoup unveils its first annual high school wrestling notables.

The criteria to become a Midcoast notable student-athlete begins with the VillageSoup sports department polling area coaches to provide a list of what they feel are their top athletes for that season, not necessarily a high school career. In this case, for wrestling, Belfast’s Ted Heroux, Camden Hills’ Levi Rollins, Medomak Valley’s Philip Genthner and Mount View’s Hamilton Richards were polled for their nominations.

The notables are based on individual performances, although the strength of a team’s season may impact how many players from a specific team are selected.

Student-athletes had to compete in at least half of their team’s regular-season matches to be considered for notable status.

This year’s wrestling notables include Belfast’s Brent Waterman, Justin Philbrook, Evan Drinkwater, Jordan Young and Justin Boyle; Camden Hills’ Coleman Powers, Jacob Powers, Calan Bragg, Max Bragg, Zac Fields, Tom Cassidy, R.J. Muir and Brandon Rich; Medomak Valley’s Ben Lufkin, Steven Genthner and Trevor Neilson; and Mount View’s Tristan Ripley. The Powers are brothers, while the Braggs are cousins.

This year’s class appears to be evenly distributed from top to bottom, as the field includes six seniors, six juniors, two sophomores and three freshmen.

Boyle, Ripley, Genthner, Muir, Neilson and Fields are seniors; Young, Lufkin, Max Bragg, Philbrook, Jacob Powers and Rich, all juniors; Cassidy and Drinkwater, both sophomores; and Coleman Powers, Calan Bragg and Brent Waterman, all freshmen.

Camden Hills, a Class B team competing in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference, finished with a record of 23-2 during the regular season. The Windjammers took first overall in the KVAC championship with 187 total points, nabbed the Eastern Class B championship with a 221.5-point effort and ended the year by securing the state Class B title, amassing 130 points.

Belfast, a Class B team competing in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference, finished with a record of 20-5 during the regular season. The Lions finished eighth in the KVAC championships with 103 points, secured a second-place finish at the Eastern Class B regional competition with 155 points and finished eighth at the state Class B championship with 59 points.

Medomak Valley, a Class B team competing in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference, finished with a record of 7-15 during the regular season. The Panthers finished 11th in the KVAC championships by amassing 80 points, finished sixth at the Eastern Class B regional competition with 94.5 points and finished 12th at the state Class B championships with 21 points.

Mount View, a Class B team competing in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference, finished with a record of 7-28 during the regular season. The Mustangs finished 18th in the KVAC championships with 18 points, finished ninth at the Eastern Class B regional competition with 29 points, and finished 14th at the state Class B championships with 18 points.

The following are VillageSoup’s 17 high school wrestling notables, listed in alphabetical order:

Boyle, a senior competing in the 285-pound weight class, wrestled strong this season for Belfast and competed all year despite wrestling with a strained elbow. While an elbow is a tough injury to compete with, Boyle still finished the season with a 33-8 record. Boyle sat out a few matches towards the end of the season, including the KVAC championships, to rest his elbow for the regional and state competitions. The decision proved to be beneficial, as Boyle captured the regional title by pinning Caribou’s Andrew Adams at the 2:46 mark in the championship round. Boyle also finished fourth in the Class B state competition.

Calan Bragg, a freshman competing in the 119-pound weight class, wrestled well this season for the Windjammers, winning twice as many matches as he lost with a 34-17 record. He also won 18 of those matches via pinfall. Bragg had a strong showing at the regional competition, finishing second to Belfast’s Brent Waterman, while he also finished fourth at the Class B state championships. Bragg was a key contributor this season for the ‘Jammers and along with some other talented underclassmen, figure to lead the way for the team in the coming years.

Max Bragg, a junior competing in the 135-pound weight class, had a great season record-wise for Camden Hills this season despite competing in what coach Rollins called the toughest weight class in Class B. Bragg finished the season with 39-17 record securing 19 of those victories by pinfall and also had fourth-place finishes in both the regional and state competitions. Coach Rollins added that Bragg really stepped up this season on the mat when push came to shove, and expects him to step into a leadership role next season for the Windjammers.

Cassidy, a sophomore competing in the 125-pound weight class, had a strong season this year for the state champion Windjammers, finishing with a 44-14 record along with 18 pins. He also had third place finishes in both the KVAC and state competitions, along with runner-up honors in the regional competition. Coach Rollins referred to Cassidy as a bright, intelligent wrestler who works hard in practice and makes the most of his opportunities. He figures to once again be one of Camden Hills’ top grapplers next season.

Drinkwater, a sophomore competing in the 103-pound weight class, had a fine season for Belfast competing in the lightest weight class. Drinkwater, who coach Heroux says gives up almost 15 pounds to most of his opponents, finished the season with a 29-15 mark along with finishing fourth at the KVAC championships and second at the regional competition. Heroux added that four of Drinkwater’s losses were to Camden Hills’ Coleman Powers, who clinched KVAC and regional championships. Coach Heroux added that the wiry Drinkwater is innovative on the mat, makes great decision on the mat and has a lot of grit. “You can turn this kid into a knot and he’ll find a way out of it,” he added.

Fields, a senior competing in the 130-pound weight class, had a sensational season for the Windjammers and ended his high school career the way many dream-with his own state title. Fields, who finished this season with a superb 58-5 record, was praised highly by coach Levi Rollins, adding “he is a role model for everyone on the team and has a lot of experience on the mat since starting as a freshman. Fields was a team captain this season and his competitive nature fuels his fire to win on the mat.

Fields, just as his team did, captured conference, regional and state crowns this season. He defeated Gardiner’s Dan DelGallo 7-5 in the championship final at the KVAC championship, pinned Belfast’s James Seekins at the 1:01 mark in the regional championship and again defeated DelGallo, this time 11-1, to secure his second straight state title. He also went on to finish fourth in the 130-pound weight class at the 2010 New England High School Wrestling championships held in New Haven, Conn.

Genthner, a senior competing in the 145-pound weight class, had a terrific season for Medomak Valley as he proved to be the most compete wrestler on the Panthers’ roster. Genthner finished his high school career with a 31-3 record with 21 pins as a senior, while his career record stands at 110-49. Genthner also not only broke the 100-win plateau this season, but also broke the school record for victories with his 109th win. He also triumphed with KVAC and regional championships this season for the Panthers, but did not participate in the state competition.

“He always knows what to do, and he’s always looking ahead to the next move,” said father and coach Philip Genthner. “He’s always looking for something and he really works at it.”

Genthner pinned Mt. Ararat’s Joseph Rinalid at the 2:45 mark to clinch the KVAC championship and also pinned Hermon’s Brandon Burgess at the 1:19 mark to claim the regional title. His performance at the KVAC meet also earned him the distinction of the meet’s most outstanding wrestler.

Lufkin, a junior competing in the 112-pound weight class, has been a consistent grappler for Medomak Valley over the past two seasons and continued that trend this year for coach Genthner and the Panthers. Lufkin had his best season yet, tabbing a 29-8 record and could be in line to hit 100 victories should he turn around a similar season record-wise next year. Lufkin turned in a second-place finish at the KVAC championships before falling to Belfast’s Jordan Young in the title round.

Muir, a senior competing in the 152-pound weight class, came on strong for Camden Hills midseason and had a tremendous finish to his senior campaign. Muir finished the season with a 40-13 record, winning 19 of those matches by pinfall. Not only did he top the 40-win mark for the season, but he also earned the regional championship in his weight class and also took fourth place overall in the state competition. Muir defeated MCI’s Revelin Goeway 9-6 to claim the regional title. Coach Rollins added that “something clicked” for Muir midseason and from that point, he was nearly unstoppable on the mat.

Neilson, a senior competing in the 171-pound weight class, had not wrestled since his days in middle school and decided to get back on the mat this season for Medomak Valley. It turned out to be a great decision for both he and the Panthers, as Neilson finished the season with a 22-7 mark along with 16 pins. He also won the regional title, finished second at the states and third in the KVAC’s. Coach Genthner added the Neislon thrived as a takedown wrestler, which is how he often got himself in a position to win the match. “If he took you down and he had a good hold, you could pretty much forget about it.”

Neilson finished third overall in his weight class at the KVAC championships with a forfeit victory, pinned MCI’s Patrick Hapworth at the 3:30 mark to claim the regional title. Hapworth did get his revenge however, as Neilson dropped a 3-2 decision to him at the state championships.

Philbrook, a junior competing in the 152-pound weight class, finished the season with a 30-18 for coach Heroux and the Lions. A pin-style wrestler who is unorthodox but quick as a cat, Philbrook catches many opponents off-balance with his unusual style and is “kind of like a tumbleweed” on that mat. Philbrook lost by injury default to Camden Hills’ R.J. Muir in the KVAC’s and finished fourth in the regional competition.

Coleman Powers, a freshman competing in the 103-pound weight class, had an incredible season for the Windjammers as a freshman and should he keep up the blistering pace of victories, record-holders at Camden Hills may have need to be concerned. Powers finished the season with a 51-6 record and also walked away with both conference and regional championships. The younger brother of state champion Jacob Powers, Coleman could be well on his way to one of his own as coach Rollins added that he is quick, confident and has a strong head on his shoulders, which should take him a long way in the coming years.

Coleman Powers pinned Morse’s Gary Stevens at the 2:56 mark to earn the KVAC title and also pinned Belfast’s Evan Drinkwater at the 2:24 mark to claim the regional championship. Powers lost his second match in the state championships, but went undefeated the rest of the way and won by major decision 15-2 over Morse’s Stevens in the consolation final to finish third in the state.

Jacob Powers, a junior competing in the 160-pound weight class, lived up to his name this season as he overpowered many of his opponents this season and not only sailed to a 41-5 record along with 23 pins this season for the Windjammers, but also won both regional and state titles this season. Powers also cemented his 100th career victory at the Eastern Class B regional competition, and wrestled the entire season despite suffering a mild concussion earlier in the season along with a separated shoulder.

After finishing second at the KVAC championships (a 3-2 loss to Skowhegan’s Joey Buzzell), Powers defeated Mount View’s Tristan Ripley 7-1 in the regional final before defeating him again, this time 16-3, in the state final. His state championship victory also qualified him for the 2010 New England High School Wrestling championships held in New Haven, Conn., where he finished with a 4-2 record.

Rich, a junior competing in the 140-pound weight class, was in many ways the heart and soul of the Windjammer wresting team this season. Rich, who captured the regional title and also finished second in both the conference and state competitions, was referred to by coach Rollins as a real leader, a role model for the team and a guy as a coach you hate to lose. Rich was also a team captain this season for the ‘Jammers, and finished the regular season with a 46-10 record, with 31 pins.

Rich advanced to the KVAC championship round before falling to Skowhegan’s Caleb Austin to finish in second place, while also placing second in the Class B state championships, dropping a 3-2 decision in the championship final. Rich did taste first place honors in the regional competition, where he handily defeated Maine Central Institute’s Chris Ouelette in the championship final.

Ripley, a senior competing in the 160-pound weight class, had a sensational season for Mount View this year and was by far in a way the Mustangs’ most complete grappler. Not only did he surpass the 100-win mark in his senior season, but took second in the state at the Class B state wrestling competition. The Mustangs will obviously miss Ripley’s aggressive nature on the mat next season, finishing his high school career with 105 victories.

Ripley lost to Camden Hills’ Jacob Powers 16-3 in the Class B championship final to finish second in the state, fell to Powers again in the regional final 7-1 to again take second place and also finished third in the KVAC championships after defeating MCI’s Patrick Hapworth in the consolation final.

Waterman, a freshman competing in the 119-pound weight class, broke onto the high school wrestling scene in a big way this season, showing that he has a legitimate chance to be a four-time state champion. Waterman breezed through the season with a record of 38-5, capturing individual KVAC, regional and state crowns in the process. He went undefeated in league matches, with his only losses coming at the hands of Class A grapplers at the midseason Noble Invitational Tournament. Coach Heroux added that Waterman is strong, quick, a mat technician and above all else, a good student. Waterman figures to give Belfast wrestling fans much to cheer about over the next few seasons.

Waterman first wrapped up the KVAC title by defeating Brunswick’s Jared Jensen in the championship final, defeated Camden Hills’ Calan Bragg 9-0 to clinch the regional title and then defeated Oak Hill’s Keith Madore 14-3 to clinch the Class B state championship.

Young, a junior competing in the 112-pound weight class, was arguably Belfast’s most talented wrestler on the mat this season, finishing with a 24-7 record this season. He is currently five wins away from his 100th victory, with a 95-29 career record. This season, Young not only clinched both the KVAC and regional championships, but also finished as state runner up in his weight class. Coach Heroux added that Young is explosive on takedowns, has a strong mat IQ and is an all-around talented wrestler.

Young defeated Medomak Valley’s Ben Lufkin 10-2 to secure the KVAC title and defeated Ellsworth’s Brandon Gonclaves 3-0 in the championship round of the regional competition. Young was upended by Wells’ Vanya Tomaszewski 11-4 in the state final, finishing as the state’s second best wrestler in his weight class. Young should break the 100-win plateau early next season and yet again content for the state crown.

Village NetMedia Associate Sports Director Mark Haskell can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail at mhaskell@villagesoup.com.