Evan Park ’18 swiftly dove at his opponent’s legs and pinned him to secure a small victory for Andover Wrestling against Phillips Exeter Academy last Saturday.
Andover left the quad-meet against Exeter, Roxbury Latin and Belmont Hill without a win, losing 54-21, 55-22 and 66-12, respectively. Determined to rebound from its losing streak, the team followed up with a 55-24 victory against Worcester Academy on Wednesday. The four matches brought Andover’s season record to 3-7 and its record in the New England Preparatory School Athletic Conference (NEPSAC) Class A league to 3-3.
Park said, “Overall, we didn’t perform well. However, two of the three schools that we were up against were the top two teams in our New England league. So, we went into our matches with pretty low expectations. Though we kind of expected the results that we got, it was still really tough and disappointing.”
Head Coach Rich Gorham said, “Our competition this Saturday consisted of some of the best prep teams in New England. We definitely needed to improve our physical and mental toughness throughout our matches.”
Against Exeter, the number-one ranked team in New England, Park won by pin and David Moon ’17 won by decision. Although Park and Moon secured crucial points for Andover, Co-Captain Justin Muchnick ’16, Alex Cleveland ’17 and Pierce Bausano ’18 were unable to pin their opponents, ultimately losing in some of the closest and hardest-fought matches of the quad-meet.
Kal Parvanov ’16 said, “We lost by a lot against Exeter. It was a tough fight, especially since Exeter is a team that has really good chances of winning the New England Championship. A highlight of the meet was definitely Co-Captain Justin Muchnick’s match against Exeter’s Joey Rosetti. Joey was a top ranked wrestler and a really tough guy to go up against. However, Muchnick did not give up and wrestled extremely hard. Although he lost, he didn’t allow this particular defeat to distract him from his next matches, which eventually enabled him to win his third match against Dan Penella from Roxbury Latin.”
Similar to the Exeter match, against Roxbury Latin and Belmont Hill, the team struggled to maintain momentum and consistency. The team dropped points in crucial situations and suffered from its inability to recover from the hard blows coming from its opponents.
Andover started off strong against Roxbury Latin with decisive wins from Adam Cohen ’18, Moon, Parvanov and Muchnick, while Cleveland earned key points against his Belmont Hill opponent to take the match. These impressive individual performances, however, were not enough to win.
Parvanov said, “We should have been more physical, because at the end of the day, although there are some limitations to what one could do on the mat, wrestling is a physical sport. We should not be afraid of using all of our skills, strength, mentality and endurance to get the pin that we have been working so hard for.”
Martha Gao ’17 said, “In our matches on Saturday, we really needed to improve our aggression, moves off bottom, our confidence, as well as our pinning combinations. A lot of us know what to do, but don’t appear to have the confidence to really hit the moves hard in a match.”
Determined to avenge its losses, Andover squared off against Worcester on Wednesday with confidence and persistence. Pins from Bausano, Cleveland, Co-Captain Ian Blythe ’16 and Bennett Sherr ’17 all propelled Andover to a decisive 42-25 victory.
Danny Levine ’18, who did not wrestle due to his concussion, said, “Overall, the team performed really well. We got some really good pins, some close and some not as close. One highlight was definitely Bennett Sherr’s match, as he won in a really close and tough-fought match.”
Looking forward, Andover hopes to build on its newfound momentum when it hits the road for the Bidstrup Duals on Saturday.