Sanford’s Isaac Plante works for a takedown during a match earlier this season. JASON GENDRON PHOTOGRAPHY

Sanford’s Isaac Plante works for a takedown during a match earlier this season. JASON GENDRON PHOTOGRAPHY


SANFORD — The state wrestling championships are always a big event for high school wrestlers, but this year’s Class A tournament will have a historic feel to it — especially if you’re from the Sanford area.
That’s because Sanford High School will be hosting the tournament, and it will be the last major sporting event to ever be held at the iconic Veterans Memorial Gym.
“It’s going to be something special because it’s going to be the last time we wrestle at that gym … it’s historic,” said Sanford senior Nick Works on wrestling one last time at Memorial.
Works and teammates Sam Anderson and Isaac Plante won Class A South regional titles last weekend. All three are looking forward to performing in front of their hometown fans this weekend.
“It’s the biggest thing in the world to me. I’m going to try to get all my friends, all the people that think wrestling is that kind of second tier sport, I’m going to try to get a huge crowd at home and I just want to finish on the right note,” said Anderson, who is a senior.
Anderson, who won regionals at 170 pounds, is hoping to join an exclusive club as a two-time state champion.
“Next week I’m looking for gold. I’m looking to try to prove that I’m one of the best in the state and that I just won’t go away,” said Anderson, who has goals beyond the state tournament. “I want to show that I’m continuing to get better and I want to place at the New England Championships.”
While he was looking forward to defending his state title, Anderson also made sure he was enjoying his final regional tournament.
“It was just soaking it all in and being confident, but realizing that this is the last ride,” said Anderson, who recently broke the school’s all-time wins record. “This is kind of the last taste of high school wrestling I’m ever going to get, so as much as I want to be all competitive and intense, I’m kind of a little bit more relaxed. Coming in as a veteran, being used to the atmosphere, being used to what it’s like — you just have to soak it all in and enjoy it.”
Plante was thrilled to pick up his second straight regional title last weekend, but the junior admitted that this year’s gold wasn’t as special as the first time he reached the top of the podium.
“To be honest, last year meant a little bit more just coming from what felt like a little bit tougher of a bracket, being the underdog coming in seeded second. Getting that upset in the final (last year) felt a little bit crazier,” said Plante. “This year, coming in as the one seed, it put a little more pressure on me, (people) kind of expected me to come out and win it. It felt good this year and it felt even better this year to have both Nick and Sam by my side, and have Sol (Demers) and some other guys doing real well.”
Works, who also has two regional titles on his resume, was thrilled to win the second one with his teammates.
“It’s nice because we put a lot of work in together at practice, always in the same group, so it’s nice to just have everyone get in on the winning,” said Works, who won his first regional crown as a sophomore.
Now the focus turns to the state tournament and the Spartans are hoping to not only capture individual gold, but surprise some people and win a team title in front of their home crowd.
“Our confidence is through the roof,” said Anderson. “We believe in ourselves and we just have to get the strength, get the cardio … all the guys that we thought were going to make it pushed through and we just have to work together, be a team, be a family, look out for each other and just strive to be the best that we can be altogether, collectively as a team.”
Plante believes this Sanford team has what it takes to make it happen on Saturday.
“It’s big for me, big for the whole team. We’ve been sitting down every day trying to figure out scenarios to see how we can get our team to win states, how we can individually win states and what we have to do. Something big is going to happen this weekend — it’s just meant to be,” Plante said.

Sanford’s Nick Works looks for a pin during a match this season. JASON GENDRON PHOTOGRAPHY

Sanford’s Nick Works looks for a pin during a match this season. JASON GENDRON PHOTOGRAPHY

Sam Anderson controls an opponent during a regular-season match.   JASON GENDRON PHOTOGRAPHY

Sam Anderson controls an opponent during a regular-season match. JASON GENDRON PHOTOGRAPHY

— Sports Editor Pat McDonald can be reached at [email protected] or at 282-1535 ext. 322. Follow the Journal Tribune Sports Department on Twitter @JournalTsports.


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