Sanford’s Sam Anderson competes in the New England Wrestling Championships on Friday. JASON GENDRON PHOTOGRAPHY

Sanford’s Sam Anderson competes in the New England Wrestling Championships on Friday. JASON GENDRON PHOTOGRAPHY

PROVIDENCE — It was a solid day for the Maine wrestlers who made the trip to Providence on Friday as four locals earned trips to the quarterfinals of the New England Interscholastic Wrestling Championships.

Kennebunk’s Alden Shields, Noble’s Josh Cote, Sanford’s Sam Anderson and Wells’ Nolan Potter all went undefeated on Friday to advance to this morning’s quarterfinals.

The night couldn’t have gone much better for Shields who picked up a 12-6 decision over Plymouth South’s Lucas Pinzino in his opening match. The victory would not only keep him in the winner’s bracket — it was his 100th career win.

“That 100th win kind of set the tone for the day and it got me off to

a good start,” said Shields.

Kennebunk coach Steve Young was thrilled to see the 113-pound junior join the 100-win club, but he was also happy to see him snap his losing streak in Providence.

“I think that first win and getting the 100th win was great, but I think the big hurdle today was getting his first win at New Englands,” said Young. “He went 0-2 the last time he was here, so getting that first win today was just huge to build his confidence and just show that he can compete here.”

Shields had to work for his second victory on Friday as he trailed 5-0 after the opening period to Compass School’s Lucas Saunders. The junior rallied with a couple sets of back points to secure a 10-9 victory, which puts him into this morning’s quarterfinals against Fitch’s Jarod Kosman.

“After the first period I knew how he was going to be wrestling the rest of the match. I could tell he was a very aggressive wrestler so I knew that if I could get him down I just had to just work my moves where he wouldn’t be able to overpower me with his strength because he was obviously a lot stronger than me,” Shields said.

Shields is hoping a little film session will help him prepare for the Connecticut state champ.

“One of my coaches got the last period of (Kosman’s) match so I’m going to watch that, and then just go out tomorrow the same way I did today, and just wrestle hard and try to get on the podium,” said Shields.

Anderson had a bye in the preliminary round and would then take care of business with a 19-6 major decision over Framingham’s Dylan O’Brien to reach today’s quarterfinals. 

“I was just trying to get a feel for my opponent because at the New England Championships you can’t take anyone lightly,” said Anderson, who picked up the pace late in the match. “When I realized the kind of tempo he had on his feet I just had to bring up (my tempo) a little bit and I got him right where I wanted him.”

Sanford coach Brent Coleman was happy with Anderson’s opening night performance.

“We discussed coming out of the gate firing on all cylinders,” said Coleman. “Our goal was to really crush (his opponent’s) spirits so (Anderson) could feel like he could do what he wanted to in the match and set a nice steady pace.”

Anderson will face Woonsocket’s Rogelio Gonzalez in the 170-pound quarterfinals today.

“Get to the podium and actually getting it done,” said Anderson on his goals for the rest of the tournament. “I believe I can do it, and I believe I have what it takes but also being there for everyone else from the state because it’s a big day for all of us to show up tomorrow.”

Potter would also have a bye to start the tournament, and just like Anderson, he would get the job done in his New Englands opener. The senior 220-pounder was able to secure six takedowns on his way to a 12-6 win over Hampden Charter’s Romelo Medina.

“He was giving me that leg so I would shoot in with a single and finish across the body. It worked so I kept doing it,” said Potter. Potter, who will face Shawsheen’s Omar Eldaly today in the quarters, was thrilled to be back in Providence.

“It was fun. It’s a great atmosphere. I mean you get all the best wrestlers here and just to wrestle in this tournament is such a privilege and an honor. It’s just unreal,” Potter said.

Cote got a bye to open New Englands and was successful in his debut as he took down Windham’s Riley Millette by a 9-5 score. The freshman 120-pounder will face Masconomet’s Jack Darling in the quarterfinals.

Three local wrestlers went 1-1 on Friday and are still alive for a medal as Noble’s Sam Martel (126), Massabesic’s Noah Hernandez (138) and Wells’ Sean McCormack-Kuhman (285) will wrestle in the consolation bracket this morning.

Biddeford’s Josiah Garcia (145), Noble’s Jon Grenier (145) and Hil Keisker (160) and Wells’ Mike Wrigley (195) all went 0-2 on Friday and were eliminated from the tournament.

The tournament is set to resume at 9 a.m. today with the medal rounds scheduled for a 5:15 p.m. start.


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