As the season drew to a close, Andover Wrestling encountered its toughest opposition of the year. The four entries in the National Prep Tournament last week all had difficult outings, with each wrestler losing in early round matches. The Big Blue bounced back with a fantastic showing at New Englands, posting its best success in three years and placing 10th overall. The National Prep Tournament is arguably the most prestigious and competitive wrestling tournaments in America and only the Big Blue’s best Varsity wrestlers were allowed to compete. This year, Andover sent Mark Shvartsman ’05 at 119lbs, Jeff Peña ’04 at 130, Captain Leon Fay ’04 at 135 and Phil Caruso ’03 at 152. Shvartsman scored a tech fall to win his first match, and Fay majored his first opponent to advance, but both Caruso and Peña were knocked out early, and both finished the tournament 0-1. In the second round, Fay lost a tough one-point decision. Shvartsman, meanwhile, drew the wrestler who would end the day in 6th overall, and suffered a second period pin. According to NPT rules, when Shvartsman’s opponent reached the quarterfinal round, the Andover lower got the chance to wrestle in the consolation bracket. Fay, however, did not get the chance. Thus, the Andover captain finished his day with a solid 1-1 record. In his first consolation match, Shvartsman fought tooth and nail against his opponent, this time the eventual 5th placer, but again lost. A week later, Andover sent Gabe Worgaftik ’06, Shvartsman, Tom Treat ’04, Peña and Fay to the New England tournament at Belmont Hill. Arriving on Friday afternoon, Peña, Shvartsman and Fay all won their first matches. Treat did not fare as well, getting eliminated early. Worgaftik lost his first match, but won his second to stay alive. A day later, Worgaftik lost his first match, eliminating himself from the tournament. Underdog Shvartsman stunned the second seed, pinning him in the first period to advance. Peña needed a few last minute heroics in his match to sneak past the top ranked wrestler in his weight class, as he won in an 8-7 decision. Fay put up a tough fight, but ultimately lost. After Shvartsman knocked off the third seed to reach the finals and Peña did the same to the fourth seed, Fay roared through the consolation bracket and reached the 5th place match. In the finals, both Shvartsman and Peña lost furious matches. Fay fought hard and beat his opponent to take 5th. After a solid day of wrestling, Andover found themselves with three placers in the top six for the first time in recent history. Overall, the team amassed a total of 55 points, good enough to place tenth overall. Shvartsman and Peña, 7th and 9th seeds respectively, both reached the finals, while the eighth seeded Captain Fay placed 5th. This week Andover Wrestling wrapped up its 2003 season and elected uppers Fay and Peña as captains for the 2004 season.