Highly competitive New England tournament returns after two-year hiatus
BY HANNAH MUELLER, STAFF WRITER
After a two-year hiatus, the Sanford Wrestling Annual Tournament (SWAT) returned to SHS on Jan. 6 and 7. The tournament welcomed the top-performing teams from all over New England.
Twenty-one teams trekked up to Maine in the snowstorm for the highly anticipated and competitive tournament in hopes of getting a glimpse of what the renowned New England Tournament may look like.
Between the two days, the tournament lasted at least 16 hours in which the wrestlers did their best to acquire points against or pin their opponents.
After long grueling hours and extremely tough competition, the Spartans were able to place in seven different weight classes, as well as pull out two weight class wins (James Blood, 113 lbs, and Canton Hill, 195 lbs.).
The top performers from Sanford High include:
- James Blood: Champion 113 weight class
- Canton Hill: Champion 195 weight class
- Chris Chaplick: 3rd place, Received Ken Hover Outstanding Sanford Wrestler Award
- Luke Callis: 5th place
- Mason Van Gieson: 6th place
- James Chaplick: 6th place
- Ricky Callis: 6th place
Overall, Sanford put up a heck of a fight against some really tough opponents. Ranking fourth overall in the SWAT and first for Maine Class A teams!
“The tournament went extremely well, we were very excited to have some of the top teams from New England back,” said Nate Smith, head coach known to most as “Smitty”.
“We were fourth overall and only three points out of third, so we did very well. We looked phenomenal, all the coaches were pleased with how the tournament went,” he added.
The 2022-2023 SWAT was said to be the longest tournament the team has experienced in quite a while, showing how only the toughest of competitors will be able to survive, let alone snag a place on the podium.
Chris Chaplick, a freshman at Sanford, received the Outstanding Sanford Wrestler Award. He also placed third overall in his weight class, which — according to Smitty — is unheard of for a freshman.
“I really liked the way I wrestled during the tournament and I’m very thankful for all the support that the Sanford Community has given me,” said Chaplick.
James Blood, senior at SHS, and Canton Hill, a sophomore at Sanford Christian Academy, both expressed their happiness with their performance throughout the tournament, noting that they are both able and ready to improve their skills in preparation for the New England Tournament.
Zach Lemelin, Sanford’s Athletic Director, was very pleased with the turnout for the SWAT for it being the first time he has hosted it since the hiatus.
“It was an incredible opportunity to have some of the best wrestling in all of New England, here in Sanford High School,” said Lemelin. “Our team and our kids wrestled incredibly well, and I’m really proud of the things that they were able to accomplish over the weekend.”
Below is a slideshow of Spartans over the weekend: