Andover Grapplers Beat Tilton; Wall ’04 First Female To Win

In their last full week of the regular season, the Varsity Wrestlers brought home mixed results, securing their first winning record for dual meets in three years, but dropping contests to rivals Northfield-Mount Hermon and Brooks. The Grapplers finished 1-2 on the week, leaving their record at 10-7-1 as they head into the home stretch, with each of the next four weekends postseason tournaments. A highlight in the week’s competitions was a win by Jardine Wall ’04. Wall’s victory against the Hoggers marked the first ever Varsity win by a female in a PA singlet. In one of the most anticipated meets of the season, Andover played host to Class A powerhouse NMH on Saturday, as well as Tilton for the third time this season. The Andover Wrestlers knew that it would take a step up in order to topple the Hoggers, an undefeated team. The Boys in Blue, fired up for the occasion by Captain Leon Fay ’04, took the mat against the Hoggers ready for a day of tough wrestling. Despite a 10-6 win by Dan Hackney ’05 at 171lbs and Evan Platt ’06’s thrilling 1-0 victory at 215, Andover found itself quickly losing 24-6. At 112lbs, Jardine Wall ’04’s second period pin cut back into NMH’s lead and gave the Blue a needed boost. PA then continued to bounce back with a second period 15-0 Tech Fall by Mark Shvartsman ’05. After Jeff Pena ’04 scored a 7-2 victory over a quality opponent at 130lbs and Fay pinned at 135, the NMH lead had reduced to only four points, with the score standing at 30-26. Unfortunately, PA’s rally fell short, and after suffering three consecutive first-period pins at 140, 145 and 152lbs, the final score stood at 48-26 in favor of the second-ranked Hoggers. In the second dual meet of the day, Andover was able to unleash its frustration upon a Tilton team that it had already defeated twice this season. After Lars Trautman ’04 lost a heartbreaker at 160lbs, Andover rebounded with a pin by Hackney at 171 and a win by Ben Stone ‘04, a 20-3 tech fall at 189lbs. Andover rattled off five straight victories, with decisions by Gabe Worgaftik ’06, Tom Treat ’04, and Nick Constantino ’04. After Fay lost a close match 16-12 at 135lbs, Taylor Yates ’04 added a pin at 145. The day ended on a sour note as Phil Caruso ‘03 came up short in a 10-5 decision at 152. In the end, the Boys in Blue tallied another in the W column with a 37-18 victory. On Wednesday, the Wrestlers took the short drive to nearby Brooks for a dual meet with the top-ranked ISL team. Boasting two returning Prep New England Champions, Brooks sauntered onto the mat to take on the visiting Big Blue. Andover jumped out to a quick lead with impressive wins by Worgaftik and Shvartsman at 112 and 119lbs. Pena continued the Big Blue’s winning streak, and by the end of the third match, PA was up 14-6. In a hard-fought match with the best prep wrestler in New England at 135, Fay fell behind quickly and ended up losing by tech fall. Brooks capitalized on this momentum with pins at 140 and 145lbs. Down 8-6 going into the third period, Caruso was able to pull out a win at 152, pinning his opponent with two seconds left on the clock. A solid pin by Erik Trautman ’03 at 171lbs finished the scoring for Andover, and Brooks took two forfeits at 215 and 275 to push the final score to 47-26. Despite displaying some of their best wrestling of the season, Andover was unable to upset either Brooks or NMH. However, the Big Blue will get one last shot at glory when they wrestle third-ranked Exeter next Wednesday at home to close out their regular season. PA will also send a contingent of wrestlers to a wrestling tournament this Saturday, hosted by the Hyde School of Connecticut, in preparation for the Class A League Tournament the following weekend.