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Sunday, January 21, 2018

‘Unfinished business’

Sendrowski looking to get back on top of podium


By Pat McDonald

The dream of every high school wrestler is to win a state championship.

Scarborough’s Jeremy Sendrowski was able to accomplish that goal in his first year of varsity wrestling. The past two state tournaments have ended with Sendrowski on the podium, but with a bronze and silver medal around his neck.

With just over a month to go in his high school wrestling career, the Scarborough standout is looking to finish where he started — on top.

“As a senior, I feel like I have a chip on my shoulder. I have some unfinished business from the last two years,” said Sendrowski.

While the last two seasons haven’t ended the way he would have liked, Sendrowski had two of the state’s best standing in his way with Gardiner’s Peter Del Gallo handing him a loss in the semifinals as a sophomore and Noble’s Austin Shorey beating him in the 145-pound finals last year.

“I mean facing Del Gallo and Shorey, I could have dodged them if I wanted to, but I wanted to really make myself better,” said Sendrowski. “Facing the tougher kids really makes you better, losing you know you never lose, you only win or you learn. Whenever I lose a match, I just learn from it. I have some bad matches sometimes, but you know there’s a lot of things that I work on, my coaches are always there for me and I always have to improve on stuff after every match.”

Scarborough coach Deron Sharp believes Sendrowski’s willingness to work hard and his drive to improve every time he steps on the mat has helped make him the wrestler he is today.

“We have a constant theme of always getting better. I think that’s the mentality that he’s embraced and that’s one of the reasons why he’s been able to be so successful,” said Sharp. “Wins are great, losses are upsetting but when we get to the practice room the next day, it’s ‘what do I need to work on? What’s my goal for today?’”

Sharp, who is in his third season with the Red Storm, is happy to have Sendrowski on his team as he tries to build up the Scarborough program.

“He’s a role model in the room,” said Sharp. “He’s a wrestler that since I’ve gotten here, everyone has been able to look up to him and say, ‘this is what I should be doing, this is what I shouldn’t be doing,’ and things like his work ethic and attitude are addicting. He’s quite the leader, and that’s why he’s a team captain and that’s why he’s doing well.”

There’s no doubt that part of Sendrowski’s drive to be a great wrestler comes from spending his early years in Pennsylvania.

“Watching as a kid, the atmosphere in Pennsylvania is just insane. I remember one of the meets at Nazareth, Jordan Oliver was still on Easton and they turn off all the lights, the smoke machine would come out, all the Nazareth wrestlers would walk around, it was just insane,” said Sendrowski, who moved to Maine in the fifth grade.

Sendrowski, whose older brother (Aaron Chamberlain) won over 100 matches at powerhouse Northampton, had the chance to wrestle with some of the best wrestlers Pennsylvania has to offer while he was growing up.

“Our practice room was two full mats, it was like a college room,” said Sendrowski, who stays in touch with some PA wrestlers. “Definitely seeing all my friends back in Pennsylvania, over the last two years I think six of them have committed to Ivy League schools, kids I used to hang out with. Sammy Sasso, we used to be really good friends and hung out all the time, we still keep in touch. Seeing all their success is wonderful.”

The senior has tried to bring some of that PA style to the mats in Maine.

“People have their own types of style, but obviously I grew up on that stuff with leg riding, wrestling on top,” said Sendrowski.

Sendrowski has also thought about what kind of wrestler he would be if he had stayed in the Keystone State.

“I always think about how good I could have been if I stayed down there. That’s always in the back of my mind, but then again it was my choice to move up here, and it was my choice of how hard I wanted to work,” Sendrowski said.

The former state champion believes he could have been more dedicated over the past few years.

“Looking back on it now, I definitely could have worked harder,” Sendrowski said. “I kind of regret some of that stuff but (my) advice to other kids is it’s going to suck during practice, I know it sucks, I hate going to practice, but embrace the grind. Every second is going to pay off.”

The senior is happy to give advice to younger wrestlers and is enjoying his role as a leader for the Red Storm.

“We’re definitely a growing program, but we’re getting a lot better. Being a leader, you know I like it, kids kind of look up to me,” Sendrowski said. “I really push the kids in the room sometimes. I’m not that vocal, but when I’m working with the kids I make sure I’m pushing them as hard I can — make sure they get better. Being a leader is just nice because everybody looks up to you and you get to show them your style of wrestling and you get to give them tips.”

One tip he would give any Maine wrestler is to get out of state and find tough camps to go to and better competition.

“Definitely outside of the state experience is the best experience you can have,” said Sendrowski, who has attended the grueling camp held by former Minnesota coach J Robinson at Edinboro University in PA. “I mean J-Rob, it wasn’t fun, but I would definitely recommend it to any wrestler. It made me 100 times better. Mentally, I’m not the best, but J-Rob definitely helped it. If you’re not too confident about yourself, I mean just go to camps, get out of state — a couple wins out of state can boost your confidence a ton.”

Sendrowski is certainly looking to close out his high school career with a second gold, but he also has his sights set on the college mats.

“I’m pretty much committed to (the University of Southern Maine),” said Sendrowski, who has built a close bond with USM coach Mike Morin. “I’ve been with their coaches since I moved up here and going to Bulgaria with them really helps. They are a bunch of great guys.”

The senior has been impressed with the type of wrestlers Morin has filled the USM room with — which includes a lot of the wrestlers Sendrowski faced during his high school career.

“The room is insane, I mean you have Del Gallo, Shorey ... they used to beat on me all the time so they’re only going to make me better. That team is just going to be a great environment for me and I think all the Maine kids going there will be great,” said Sendrowski.


— Pat McDonald is the Sports Editor of the Journal Tribune in Biddeford. He can be reached at pmcdonald@journaltribune.com.

                                                     Photo Credit: Jason Gendron


  Photo Credit: Jason Gendron

Sunday, January 7, 2018

'I want to be the next one'

Nokomis junior Quinton Richards keeps adding to his impressive wrestling resume

By Pat McDonald

Nokomis junior Quinton Richards cruised to the 152-pound championship at the annual Atlantic Invitational back in late December. While that statement will probably not surprise anyone in the Maine wrestling community, the standout's "celebration" after one of his wins during the title run was certainly not commonplace.

After he got his hand raised following a victory, Richards didn't celebrate or show any kind of emotion. The first thing he did was go up to his opponent and give him advice on a way to avoid a move that Richards had just used to beat him. While that might not be a common response after picking up a win, Richards had a simple explanation for it.

"If you're wrestling better kids, you're going to become better  iron sharpens iron, steel sharpens steel," Richards said. "You always want to get better so if I get my competition better, it's going to push me to get better."

Richards is on a constant quest to become a better wrestler, which might scare some wrestlers around Maine since he already has a state championship on his resume.

"You have to keep the pace up, keep going with it … you've got to have the good workout partners and all that," said Richards on his mindset entering his junior campaign.

 "You've just got to be an all-around better athlete than what you were before, show an improvement because you don't want (people) to be like 'oh, you topped out your sophomore year.' You've got to get better and better and better."

One thing Richards has done to make sure he continues to evolve and improve as a wrestler is hit the road to find tougher competition during the offseason.

"I usually put a lot of work in during the summer, going out of state," said Richards, who has traveled to Ohio, Kentucky and Virginia for tournaments. 

"It's a whole different ballgame because those kids have been training since kindergarten … they are on top of it and you can't make any of those little mistakes like hesitation, you've got to keep going forward and keep moving. When you take a loss, you can't dwell over it."

Richards has won tournament titles at Wells, Noble and at his home tourney so far this season, but the junior has his sights set on some much bigger prizes.

"I want to win (regionals), states … I just want to take it a tournament at a time. I want to get New Englands, that's a big thing, but I'm going to say I'll settle for third or fourth (at New Englands)," said Richard, who admitted that he didn't handle his first trip to Providence very well. 

"Last year I got too hot-headed. I think I went 2-2, but I kind of put too much pressure on myself to take first and then I didn't."

Richards is looking to continue to build up his high school resume  and put his name in the conversation with some of the best wrestlers to ever hit the mat in Maine.

"I want to be the next one," said Richards. "Everyone talks about them, so I want to be put up on that pedestal with those guys. Cody Hughes, Brett Gerry, Brad (Beaulieu), Cody (Craig), they are all great wrestlers, and I want to make sure everyone knows that I'm up at that level."

— Pat McDonald is the Sports Editor of the Journal Tribune in Biddeford. He can be reached at pmcdonald@journaltribune.com.

                                              (Photo Credit: Jason Gendron)
                                              )Photo Credit: Jason Gendron)
                                         (Photo Credit: Jason Gendron)

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Skowhegan Standouts Hoping to Finish High School Careers on Top


By Pat McDonald

The Skowhegan wrestling program has been one of the best in the state over the past few seasons. Former four-time state champion Cody Craig was a driving force behind the Indians’ recent mat dominance, but current seniors Samson Sirois and Ricky Oberg have also been key to Skowhegan’s success.

Sirois is back for another year on the mat after capturing a state title last year, and the standout has his sights set on a bigger prize in 2018. 

“I want to get top three at New Englands, that’s my big goal,” Sirois said. 

Oberg came up just short of a state title last year and is looking to close his career on top. 

“My real goal is to just come through win states ... go through and win all the other tournaments like I did last year,” said Oberg, who finished second to Marshwood’s Matt Thompson in 2017.

Both Oberg and Sirois believe their time working with Craig has helped them become better wrestlers and two of the top grapplers in the state. 

“My freshman and sophomore year I worked with him a lot because I was near his weight ... him and I were practice partners and he killed me — and showed me stuff,” Sirois said of Craig.

 “I think it really helped me almost every practice because I just got one-on-one time with him, he just beat the crap out of me and I just started to learn from it,” Oberg added. 

Oberg got to spend some time with Craig this past summer before the former Skowhegan star took off for the Hill School in Pennsylvania.

 “I got some one-on-one time with Cody Craig before he left, and Noah Dumas from Cony, and Cody’s younger brother (freshman Jake Craig) so that really helped me a lot,” said Oberg of his off-season workouts.

Oberg believes the younger Craig could pick up where his brother left off. 

“I think he could win states. I don’t know from the South who’s going to challenge him,” Oberg said of Jake Craig.

The Skowhegan standouts also give a ton of credit to head coach Brooks Thompson for their success on the mat.

 “It’s been really good. He pushes us really hard. He has a motto ‘if you’re going to be here in practice, you might as well do it,’" said Oberg, who believes the program has reached a new level in recent seasons.

 “It’s definitely stepped up. Before we never won a state title, never really got close ... and then we (won) it a few years ago and we have been a force ever since.”

Another wrestler who has helped the Indians get to this point has been Messalonskee standout Austin Pelletier, who practices with Skowhegan. 

“That was definitely huge,” said Oberg of Pelletier’s contributions in the room. “He came in the year we won states, and he’s just been one of the kids in the room that helps lead practice and he’s one of the kids that people look up to.”

Both Oberg and Sirois are hoping to make some more memories on the mat before their time at Skowhegan comes to an end.

 “Hopefully a state title. Hopefully my third regional title ... you know, some good stuff — possibly New Englands,” said Oberg, who might look to compete with the University of Maine’s club team next year.

For Sirois, this year will be the last time he competes in a “serious” way on the mat.

“I might go to practice here and there to help out. I will still compete in open divisions with my brother because he will drag me out there, but I won’t do anything serious,” said Sirois on the possibility of competing at the next level.

With time winding down on his competitive wrestling career, Sirois has some big-time goals he is trying to chase down.

 “Two hundred wins, 100 pins and a crack at New Englands — that’s what I want,” said Sirois, who already had a state title, two second-place finishes and a fourth-place medal from New Englands on his resume.

After seeing Cody Craig and former Marshwood standout Brad Beaulieu win New England titles last March, Sirois is even more confident that he can bring home a gold medal from Providence in a couple months. 

“I know I can win it. I just need to be on my A game,” said Sirois.

— Pat McDonald is the Sports Editor of the Journal Tribune in Biddeford. He can be reached at pmcdonald@journaltribune.com.

Pictured: Ricky Oberg (Photo Credit Jason Gendron)
Pictured: Samson Sirois (Photo Credit Jason Gendron)