2019-02-08 / Community

Defending state champ ready for final postseason

By Pat McDonald Sports Editor

Kennebunk’s Alden Shields takes down Marshwood’s Carsen Goodwin during the 126-pound finals of the Atlantic Invitational in Wells earlier this season. (Jason Gendron photos) Kennebunk’s Alden Shields takes down Marshwood’s Carsen Goodwin during the 126-pound finals of the Atlantic Invitational in Wells earlier this season. (Jason Gendron photos) KENNEBUNK — Kennebunk senior Alden Shields has put together an impressive resume on the mats over the past four years — and he will be looking to add to his legacy over the next month.

Shields, who won a state championship last year, will kick off his final high school wrestling postseason on Saturday at the Class A South regional tournament at Noble High School in North Berwick.

“Honestly, after our last meet, which was Senior Night, it kind of hit me that the end of (my high school career) was coming,” said Shields. “With the postseason coming up, there’s a lot of competition in my weight class and I’m just trying to prepare myself for all the talented wrestlers I’m going to be going against.”

The senior will be competing at 126 pounds this postseason, which could set up a showdown with another defending state champ — Noble sophomore Josh Cote.

“Josh is a great wrestler. He’s done great things on the mat and great things in the state of Maine. It will be a fun match to watch when they do meet up,” said Kennebunk head coach Steve Young of Cote, who also placed fifth at New Englands last season.

“Josh is an outstanding wrestler,” added Shields.

Both Shields and Young believe possibly facing Cote in regionals, states and the New England qualifier will help prepare both wrestlers for the rugged New England tournament.

“I think that’s probably the best preparation I could get wrestling three weeks with him because obviously last year as a freshman he placed at New Englands. It’s going to be a good experience wrestling with him,” said Shields.

“You’ve got two great Maine wrestlers battling and just helping each other get ready for the next level,” added Young.

Shields could have elected to avoid facing Cote by dropping down to 120 pounds, but one reason he stayed at 126 was to help the Rams when it comes to the team race at regionals.

“I chose to go 126, number one because with me going 126 that opened up another spot for the team. This is the best team we’ve had in a really long time and I think if we wrestle well we have a shot at regionals,” said Shields.

Young said Shields has been a great role model for Kennebunk’s large and talented freshman class.

“I would say he’s meant a lot to our program for a long while … having a kid like that on the team with his personality, his work ethic, he’s driven to be successful and it helps to push the other kids,” said Young. “The other kids see that and want to be just as successful as he’s been. I think you see that with our freshmen this year and the success they’ve had.”

While some athletes are vocal leaders, Shields is more of a lead-by-example kind of captain, according to Young.

“He’s more of the lead by what he does. What he does in the practice room. What he does on the mat. How he goes out there and he controls matches and he tries to dictate the pace,” Young said. “A lot of these freshman have seen him wrestling growing up because a lot of these kids were on the youth team with him, so they know what he did then and it pushed them then and it’s pushing them now to say, ‘hey, I want to do that. I want to do what he’s doing.’”

Shields, who is closing in on the school’s all-time wins record, has enjoyed his role as a leader for the Rams.

“I think it’s a good experience to know you’re a leader to the freshmen — and this freshman class we have is really talented and I’m excited to see in the years after I graduate what they’re going to do,” Shields said.

The Rams are hoping to make some noise as a team this postseason and send Shields out in style.

“We have a lot of really young talent. I think we’re really strong in a lot of different weight classes throughout. Obviously, it’s going to be tough to beat Marshwood, even though their numbers aren’t there, they are strong all the way through,” said Young. “Noble is going to be a powerhouse again and they’ve got some great wrestlers on that team too, but I could see us finishing top three with a shot at winning (regionals) if they wrestle like myself, coach (Mike) Dumas and coach (Madison) Hanson know that they can. If they can do that, the sky is the limit for this group.”

Pat McDonald can be reached at pmcdonald@journaltribune.com.

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