Maine All-Star wrestlers await big challenge By Mike Zhe June 26, 2014 2:00 AM Clearing the desk of some items while wondering what cools off first — the weather or Seacoast United Phantoms striker Anthony Grant …; This is the year Matt Rix thinks Nebraska is beatable. The 30th annual Maine-Nebraska Friendship Series gets going this week, with All-Star wrestlers from the two states meeting for four dual meets in Maine. One of those meets, next Tuesday (5:30 p.m.), will be at Marshwood High School. The two states have alternated hosting duties for the event, which is held annually and usually ends up with the points tilted heavily toward the team from the Midwest. “I don’t know if Maine’s ever won a dual meet since they’ve been out here but this may be one of the teams that can do it,” said Rix, the longtime Marshwood coach. Four state champions from Marshwood — freshman Brad Beaulieu, and juniors Cody Hughes, Jackson Howarth and Brett Gerry — are part of the Maine team, as is Josh Smith of York, another state titleist. Hughes, who finished third at junior nationals at 152 pounds, is in the midst of one of the best local schoolboy wrestling careers ever, with three state titles and counting. The team from Nebraska arrived on Tuesday. The other meet sites are Skowhegan, Ellsworth and Foxcroft Academy. A $5 donation is suggested for the meet at Marshwood on Tuesday. More than the competition, it’s a new experience for the wrestlers from two diverse states. A few years ago, a Nebraska outlet described it this way: “You’re not going to have a truly memorable lobster experience in the Old West.” “What’s really neat is the friendship exchange,” said Rix. “All the kids that come out are great kids. They’re staying with host families. Nine times out of 10 the kids have never seen the ocean before. It’s a short time, but you get to bond with them.” Mike Zhe is a Herald staff writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @MikeZhe603.