Wrestling Pummels Competition; Slams Tilton, St. Paul’s, Thayer

After suffering three tough losses to top competitors last week, the Varsity Wrestling team got back on the winning track with three impressive wins over Tilton, St. Paul’s and Thayer. Led by Captain and Athlete of the Week Leon Fay ’04 and Mark Shvartsman ’05, both of whom went 4-0 on the week, PA scored a big win over Class A rival Tilton and recorded two more solid victories over non-league opponents St. Paul’s and Thayer. Andover’s only loss came against a talented Milton team, and the Big Blue finished 3-1 on the week and improved its season record to 9-5-1. On Saturday, the team arrived at Milton Academy prepared for a long day of wrestling – a quad meet with Tilton, St. Paul’s, and host Milton. The Big Blue took the mat and jumped out to a 13-12 lead These early wins came from Captain Fay and Jeff Pena ’04. However, after losing two tough decisions at 152 and 160lbs, PA found itself in a 20-13 hole. But at 171lbs, Dan Hackney ’05, starting in place of the injured Erik Trautman ’03, pinned his opponent in only 46 seconds. After two more quick pins at 112 and 119 by Gabe Worgaftik ’06 and Shvartsman, the final score lay 39-27 in favor of the Big Blue. Next up for PA was St. Paul’s, who proved no match for Andover in a quick dual meet. After Pena and Fay scored two quick pins to start things off, the rest of the Big Blue followed suit, with Phil Caruso ’03, Lars Trautman ’04, Hackney, John Atay ’03, Worgaftik and Shvartsman all pinning their opponents for a total of eight falls for Andover in only twelve contested matches. In the end, PA won with a final score of 48-30 and looked ahead to its final meet of the day. To close out the quad meet, the fatigued Andover wrestlers went up against a talented Milton team looking for its third win on the day. But despite a pin by Pena and a Technical Fall by Fay, Andover quickly found itself facing an 18-11 deficit. Caruso and Trautman both came back to win their second matches of the day at 152 and 160lbs, but after that Andover’s luck began to run out. The Big Blue lost five straight matches, including a heartbreaking loss at 215lbs in which Evan Platt ’06 took his opponent into double overtime before losing 2-1. Shvartsman’s third pin of the day to finish off the quad was in vain, however, and PA was forced to head home with a 45-26 loss despite its hard and courageous wrestling. On Wednesday, the Big Blue played host to Thayer Academy. Amid a string of forfeits to begin the dual, PA lost its first two matches at 215 and 130lbs, but still remained up by a score 24-18. After Thayer purposefully forfeited at 135lbs to avoid wrestling Fay, Andover put the meet out of reach with a big win by Taylor Yates ’04 at 145lbs and a quick pin by Caruso at 152. Pins by Lars Trautman and Hackney finished off yet another impressive win for PA. Andover kept ahead of their Thayer opponents for the entirety of the meet, and the final score stood at 51-27 in favor of the Big Blue. After winning three of four, the Varsity Wrestlers are beginning to prepare for the home stretch. PA has two more dual meets at home against PCD and second-ranked Northfield Mount-Hermon on Saturday as it gears up for the Class A tournament and its late-season showdown with third-ranked Archrival Exeter in February.