Three Andover Grapplers Take Gold at Invitational

Despite resting three starters, Andover earned second place of fourteen teams with a combined record of 35-16 at the Northern New England Invitational at Tilton, boasting three wrestlers who were named champions of their weight classes. Tom Treat ’04, Mark Shvartsman ’05 and Gabe Worgaftik ’06 all dominated their competition, winning at 112, 119, and 125 pounds, respectively. The three combined for five pins, giving bonus points to the Andover team score. At the 103 pounds, Kassie Archembault ’06 upset the number one and number three seed to make it to the finals before losing to a tough opponent, earning a silver medal. Andover missed regular 130-pound man Jeff Peña ’04, who was projected to easily win the tournament. Gordon Murphy ’06 filled in, but dropped a close match, finishing in fifth place. Nick Bowen ’06 went 3-1, shocking everyone and winning a silver medal. Bowen had two solid pins and a decisive victory before a loss in the finals to a highly seeded wrestler. Co-Captain Leon Fay ’04 also fought to a 3-1 record, his only loss coming in an overtime match that could have gone either way. Fay pinned his first and third wrestler before churning out a solid 11-6 decision to earn the bronze. First year wrestler Victor Vasquez ’06 also failed to place, but managed to upset his second wrestler of the day with a 4-1 decision. 152-pounder Taylor Yates ’04 went 2-2 on the day, pinning two wrestlers and losing only to the first and third place finishers. Lars Trautman ’04 won himself a bronze medal in the 160-pound weight class with a 4-1 mark. Trautman pinned all of his opponents, falling only to the eventual gold medal winner, who won the Outstanding Wrestler award at the tournament. Dan Hackney ’05 wrestled hard for another third place finish, racking up four wins before dropping a decision to the eventual first place finisher. In his final match, Hackney beat a wrestler who had beaten him twice before. Ben Stone ’04 went 2-2 with two pins, finishing in fifth place in a strong weight class. Choosing to rest their starters at 189 and 275 pounds, Andover did not enter in either class. Nevertheless, Andover still managed to earn second place at the tournament, finishing behind only Choate Rosemary Hall, which brought its full line-up Before the invitational, Andover traveled to Exeter for their last dual meet of the season, bowing to the Big Red 51-21. Andover wrestled flat and without the intensity that has been the cause of their success this season. The match started at the 125 pound weight class. Shvartsman pinned his wrestler early in the first period. Co-Captain Peña followed up the victory with a pin of his own, giving Andover an early 12-0 lead. Exeter came back strong, winning the next nine matches with the heart of their line-up. Seven of these nine losses were pins, sealing the victory for Exeter. Stephen DeSimone ’04 had a tough match with his wrestler, dropping the decision in overtime when he attempted to throw his wrestler, but fell as he lost his grip. Afterwards Peña commented, “It was tough. We lost all the matches that, before the match, were considered toss-ups. A few mistakes and some bad luck cost the squad huge. Right now we should look ahead to and prepare for the Class A Interscholastic Tournament and the New England Championships.” A pin by Archembault followed by a win by Treat brought some pride points for the Blue, bringing Andover as close as 48-21. The final match of the day also went to Exeter, yielding the final score of 51-21. Said Fay, “We made some basic mistakes with fundamentals and we did not come out prepared for our matches. Hopefully Andover can place above Exeter at Interschols to show that we are truly a good team.” This Saturday, the grapplers will get a chance for revenge at the Class A Tournament, the culmination of their season.