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High school wrestling

Mark Ward personifies excellence on mat for Mustangs

Incredible tactitian beat opponents with strategy as well as power
By Mark Haskell | Mar 24, 2020
Photo by: Ken Waltz Mount View's Mark Ward, top, in a match this season.

Thorndike — Needless to say, Mount View High School senior Mark Ward’s exploits on the wrestling mats this season — and, by and large, the past four — have been nothing short of sensational and, in many ways, remarkable.

Ward capped his second straight year pinning down the triple crown of conference, regional and state championships with a top-six showing at the New England High School championships on March 7-8 in Methuen, Mass.

This season Ward, competing in the 152-pound class, finished with an outstanding 55-4 record and capped his illustrious high school career with a record of 167-21, with 86 pins.

The career wins and pins record shattered school records and his 55 wins this winter was a single-season mark that bested his previous record of 47.

In addition, Ward also is a two-time winner in his weight class in the New England qualifier — or “all-states” — where the top four finishers from the Class A and B state meets attempt to qualify for the New England championships. The top three in each weight division at all-states move on.

Ward finished sixth with three wins in six matches as this year's New England meet.

“I'm very proud of myself for getting these accomplishments done in my life,” said Ward. “I've completed most of my goals I set for my self back in middle school.”

At the state Class B championships in February, he pinned Mountain Valley’s Evrit Roy at the 2:56-mark to win the state title — and also defeated him 2-0 in the regional championships the week prior — while he defeated Mount Ararat’s Brett Raio, 6-2, in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships.

In fact, the last time Ward did not finish first in an Maine Principals' Association-sanctioned tournament was the KVAC championships his sophomore year, where he lost to Samson Sirois of Skowhegan — by a single point — 7-6 to finish second.

As a freshman, Ward finished fourth in the state tournament, second at regionals and third at KVACs.

Mount View coach Hamilton Richards said Ward “has been a great athlete to coach” and is “definitely more receptive than most when it comes to coaching input.”

“When he first came up into the high school program, he was already a very gifted wrestler with considerable experience and a great scrambler,” said the longtime Mustang coach. “However, he soon learned that his better opponents were not going to let him catch them in a scramble and often used out-of-bounds to thwart his bread-and-butter scoring techniques. In due time with some coaching to help nudge him a bit, he became an exceptionally mat-savvy wrestler as adept at outthinking his opponents as he was at outmaneuvering them. It’s been exciting to watch him develop as a wrestler and young man.”

Ward, who also competes in track and field and has dabbled in other sports over the years, said this mat season was tough at times because several of his victories coming by forfeit. Richards said other teams were “clearly avoiding him,” which further demonstrates Ward's overall dominance on the mats.

Ward said his talented younger brother, Zach, currently a junior, “really wants it. I think he has a chance to beat my wins [total] and maybe place higher than me at New Englands.”

Richards said Zach currently “in the 112-115 [-win] range” and that he’s “right on Mark’s heels.”

Ward said while he was contacted by the wrestling coach at Southern Maine Community College, he has no plans, at this time, to wrestle in college and hopes to become a correctional officer.

Mount View's Mark Ward, right, in a match this season. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Mark Ward. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Mark Ward. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Mark Ward, left, in a match this season. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Mark Ward. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Mark Ward, back, in a match this season. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Mark Ward, right, in a match this season. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
Mount View's Mark Ward, right, in a match this season. (Photo by: Ken Waltz)
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