As time ticked down in the last match of the deadlocked meet, Martha Gao ’17 quickly scrambled across the mat to take down her opponent, securing a crucial point in Andover Wrestling’s 34-33 victory over Deerfield.
Andover rebounded from a tough 54-21 loss at home to Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) on Friday, sweeping the quad-meet against Deerfield 34-33, Hyde-Connecticut 72-6, and Hyde-Maine 78-0 on Saturday. These victories improved Andover’s overall record to 6-2 and 3-2 in the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (Nepsac) Class A league.
Against Deerfield, pins by Post-Graduate (PG) Haroldo Nesbeth ’17, Pablo Sanchez ’19, and Eamon Garrity-Rokous ’20 helped drive the team’s effort. PG John O’Brien ’17 defeated his opponent 4-2 alongside Adam Cohen ’18, who had a 15-7 major decision win.
Ultimately, it was Gao’s 8-5 win that gave Andover a one-point triumph. Gao said, “During the Deerfield meet, it was pretty back and forth at the start. I was the last match of the day, so I was really nervous, especially with how the points were adding up. When it was my turn, we were only two points down, which means that the team only won if I won my match. I just had to score more points than him, so that’s what I focused on.”
Nesbeth said, “Adam Cohen worked his butt off to gain us an extra bonus point against Deerfield. That extra point wouldn’t have meant anything, however, if Martha Gao hadn’t defeated her opponent. Martha wrestled an amazing match all the way through. She held strong through the end of the third and managed to get a takedown in the last 30 seconds that eventually sealed the deal.”
Cohen added, “I think our team did a great job of bouncing back after a tough loss against NMH. We struggled to take control of our matches on Friday night, but over the weekend everyone seemed to step it up, especially Martha who helped us get the win over Deerfield by one point.”
Against Hyde-Maine, Andover overpowered its opponents with victories from Gordon Paiva ’20, Quint Finney ’18, Nesbeth, Eli Lopez ’19, Nobel Ohakam ’18 and Cohen.
Pins by Gao, Garrity-Rokous, Connor Haugh ’17, Cohen, and O’Brien sealed the victory over Hyde-Connecticut.
“This past Saturday, every single wrestler wrestled harder than I have ever seen them wrestle. We wrestled extremely well, and we wrestled tougher than in the past. With that drive and determination, we were able to win all three meets on Saturday,” said Nesbeth.
Unfortunately, the team did not perform as well as expected during its dual meet against NMH. Despite triumphant wins by Co-Captain Pierce Bausano ’18, O’Brien, and Nesbeth, Andover struggled to keep a lead and ultimately fell to NMH.
“Each PA wrestler worked as hard as he or she possibly could have to get takedowns, to get off of their backs, and to wrestle well on top,” said Garrity-Rokous.
“In the NMH meet, I saw a lot of wrestlers sticking their neck out there and wrestling tough all the way through. We just simply weren’t good enough as a whole to beat that team, but we did show great heart,” said Nesbeth.
Gao said, “I think there were a lot of nerves going into it, especially with such a big crowd, and we weren’t in the right mindset. However, I think the disappointment helped us focus the next day, which allowed us to win those three matches.”
Andover hopes to work on technique and building strength for future meets. Cohan said, “I think we need to keep working on perfecting our takedowns and pushing the pace of the match.”
Looking ahead to its next meet against Roxbury Latin, Belmont Hill, Loomis Chaffee, Tabor, and Phillips Exeter Academy on Saturday, Gao said, “We’re going to focus on endurance, and also perfecting our technique this week, especially for the newer wrestlers who will be having their first full meet.”
Editor’s Note: Connor Haugh ’17 is the Subscription Manager and Pierce Bausano ’18 is an Associate Buisness Manager for The Phillipian.