Massabesic's Noah Hernandez looks to score a reversal at states on Saturday. JASON GENDRON PHOTOGRAPHY

Massabesic’s Noah Hernandez looks to score a reversal at states on Saturday. JASON GENDRON PHOTOGRAPHY

SANFORD — Three local wrestlers took home gold from Saturday’s Class A State Wrestling Championships, but they weren’t the only ones to add some hardware to their trophy case as 13 other grapplers made it onto the podium at Sanford’s Veterans Memorial Gym.
Three local wrestlers would come home with second-place finishes with Noble’s Sam Martel (126) and Jon Grenier (145) and Sanford’s Nick Works (220) all grabbing silver on Saturday.
Massabesic’s Noah Hernandez (138) and Matthew Pooler (152) were two of six locals to finish in third place. Also taking the bronze were Sanford’s Isaac Plante (182) and Sol Demers (285), and Noble’s Joe Pilecki (132) and Hil Keisker (160).
Biddeford will have two wrestlers heading to the New England Qualifer after Josiah Garcia (145) and Devon Whitmore (160) brought home fourth-place medals from states.
Massabesic’s James Cline (195) and Noble’s Duncan McGilvery (138) also finished in fourth place to extend their season for at least one more week.
Martel would drop a 15-10 decision to Marshwood’s Liam Coomey in the 126-pound final. It was a complete turnaround from a week earlier when the Noble sophomore pinned Coomey at regionals.
“It’s heartbreaking. Sam has worked really hard to get there and just didn’t do it,” said Noble coach Kevin Gray. “But going in as a coach outside of the emotions in it, you look at a kid that’s pretty tough with Coomey and obviously to beat him three times, it’s really tough. We knew it was going to be a tough match. Coomey had a good game plan and capitalized on some of the mistakes that Sam made, and it is what it is.”
Grenier would face Camden Hills’ Noah Lang in the 145-pound title bout and just couldn’t get going as he dropped an 11-2 major decision.
“Tough match for Jon, but he’s a great kid and you knew he was going to work his hardest and whatever happens, happens,” said Gray. “He had a couple opportunities and he just couldn’t quite turn his hips enough to secure the back points and Lang was able to roll through it.”
The Knights had six wrestlers reach the podium on Saturday, but it was bittersweet as the Class A South Regional champs had to watch rival Marshwood celebrate with the state team title.
“I mean we didn’t perform up to the level we knew we could. Looking at the scores, the brackets and everything I talked to the Marshwood (assistant) coach (Pat Howard) in the morning and I said, ‘everyone has you guys out of it, but I know you guys have seven solid kids here and if you place six you’re going to be in the running,’” said Gray. “We placed six and we were right there. They placed seven and they were able to (place) that one extra guy so kudos to them — and it’s good for them and it wasn’t great for us.”
The focus will now shift to getting all six wrestlers to the New England Championships.
“We had a great season and it’s not over yet. We’re looking to push guys onto New Englands and have a good showing there,” Gray said.
Works would take on Nokomis’ James Boyd and found himself on the wrong end of a 30-second pin in the finals. Despite the loss, Sanford coach Brent Coleman was proud of his 220-pounder.
“This season he has really turned on the juice and worked hard from the beginning until now. He’ll continue to work hard but to see him take the loss was tough,” said Coleman. “We really wanted to see him win a state title, but what I know and what I’m happy with is he left everything he had on that mat, and win or lose he did a great job.”
Coleman was also happy to see Plante and Demers battle back from semifinals losses to take third.
“(Demers) has the heart, the strength, the will and the same goes for Isaac, they have all three of those things and that’s what got them on the podium today,” Coleman said.
It was a special day for the Spartans as they got to host the state tournament in historic Memorial Gym, which will be retired from high school action after this year.
“Last high school tournament that we’re going to have (at Memorial), I guess I’m saddened but at the same time I’m excited to see what the future holds,” said Coleman. “If these walls could talk, the ghosts of the past that were watching these kids go at it all day — it was just awesome.”
Coleman was thrilled to see a packed house on Saturday, including a ton of alumni who came back for the event.
“Family. That was the only thing I could think is I felt like one big family, the Sanford family,” Coleman said.
Biddeford coach Steve Vermette was proud of Garcia and Whitmore, who battled through tough brackets to reach the podium.
“They had a good day. They came to wrestle and I was proud of them. I knew they had two tough weight classes. Devon is giving up 12 pounds, wrestling some big boys at 160 and they both did me proud today,” said Vermette.
The Tigers will team up with Massabesic to prepare for this weekend’s All-State meet.
“Win a match, go up and win a match,” said Vermette on goals for this week. “Massabesic is coming down to practice with us again this week, so we’ll be ready to wrestle.”
The Mustangs will have three wrestlers in Nokomis on Saturday, including Hernandez and Pooler who both had tough semifinals but came back to take the bronze.
“They’re happy with what they placed. They probably know they could have placed better but they both wrestled good today,” said Massabesic coach Rick DeRosier.
Hernandez, who is a freshman, was happy with his first state tournament.
“It was pretty good. I wasn’t super nervous but at moments I was nervous. It was a big crowd and it’s fun to wrestle in front of a lot of people,” said Hernandez, who is looking to stay in the top three this week. “I mean I’m expecting to place top three so I can go to New Englands — and to just have fun.”
Pooler matched his medal from last year’s state tournament, and while he was happy to be on the podium, he is still looking for more.
“I was hoping to get a little bit better because last year I got third and I wanted to improve, but there’s always next year I guess,” said Pooler, who has his sights set on New Englands. “I’m hoping to qualify for New Englands, make it down there and maybe win a few matches. It would be good to at least make it down there.”

Marshwood takes team title

The Marshwood Hawks would place all seven kids they brought to states on the podium as they surprised rival Noble and captured the team crown for the sixth time in the last seven seasons.
Leading the way for the Hawks were state champions Coomey and David Spinney (138). Marshwood would get a second-place finish from Dylan Strong, and Sean Moriarty (113), Carsen Goodwin (120) and James Thompson (195) finished third.
Matt Thompson (132) came home with a fourth-place finish to help the Hawks win the team title.
Skowhegan was one of four schools that had two champs with senior Samson Sirois (132) and freshman Jake Craig (106) both winning titles.
Nokomis had two wrestlers take gold with Quinton Richards making it back-to-back titles at 152 pounds and Boyd winning the crown at 220.
Oxford Hills also had a pair of winners with Dawson Stevens (160) joining Zuka Mabior (182) on top of the podium.
Noble, which finished second in the team race, would get a title from freshman Josh Cote at 120.
Sanford’s Sam Anderson won his second straight title as he won the 170-pound bracket. Kennebunk’s Alden Shields won gold at 113 and Cony’s Nic Mills was the champ at 195.
Erskine’s Jake Peavy closed things out with a pin to win the title at 285 pounds.
— 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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