PA Competes In Nationals; Paintal ’07 Wins 3, Loses 3

This past weekend, Andover’s top four wrestlers made the long trip to Lehigh University in Pennsylvania to participate in the National Prep School Wrestling Tournament. With an eighth place finish at 112 pounds, Akshay Paintal ’07 had a performance that highlighted Andover’s participation in the tournament against the best wrestlers from prep schools across the nation. Paintal has become Phillips Academy’s eighth person to place in the National Prep Tournament in the last 25 years, joining Kevin Wattles ’82, Jeff Kent ’86, Jack Floto ’90, Dave Schumacher ’91, Jeremy Hersch ’99, Dan Shvartsman ’02, and Wale Adedokun ’05. Paintal, Captain Gabe Worgaftik ’06, Victor Vazquez ’06, and Gordon Murphy ’06 were carefully selected from the PA team to attend this tournament. They had to be at least in the top three in the previous Class A League tournament against other area preparatory schools or selected as a wild card. Compiling 16.0 team points, Andover was able to finish in a four-way-tie for 48th place among the 119 competing prep schools, ranging from schools in California to schools in Texas. The first place team finish went to Blair Academy, who has now won the team title for the 26th year in a row. Paintal was placed originally at the ninth seed and went on to have a record of three wins and three losses for the weekend. His first match, he won by decision over Peter Goldner of St Joseph’s Prep with a score of 9-2. He won his second match by major deciscion over Matt Goldberg of Poly Prep 15-4. Paintal’s next match was a loss against the eventual winner of the 112-lb weight class, Anthony Valles, of Blair Academy. He was pinned in 1:23. Paintal bounced back to beat Pat Henry, of Conwell-Egan with a score of 10-3. However, he was pinned in his next match against Tyler Scarinzi of Archbishop Curley, the eventual fifth place finisher, in 1:35. In his final match of the tournament, he lost with a technical fall against Vincent Tenorio of St. Mark’s School in Dallas, Texas. Captain Worgaftik, at 135 pounds, was seeded 11th and had one win and two losses on the day. His first match, he won by decision over Matthew Blades of Episcopal HS in Houston, Texas with a score of 7-5. He was then pinned by Shane Milam of McDonough, the eventual sixth place finisher, in 3:55. He ended the tournament by losing to Justin Martinez of Wyoming Seminary 10-1. The 145-pound Vazquez won a single match and lost two. In his first match against Michael Esposito of Georgetown Prep, who finished eighth in the weight class, he was pinned in 1:36. Vazquez put in a win for his second match against Alex Schreiber of Sidwell Friends. Unfortunately, he was defeated in his last match by a tough pin from Conor McPartland of Mercersburg in 3:57. Competing at 152 lbs, Murphy put in an admirable effort, but was unable to pull out the necessary wins. He lost his first match against Mike Tcheyan of Maret School in 52 seconds. However, he bounced back to fight a very tough and hard match against Greg Verini of Milton, in which he was eventually pinned in 4:28. Overall, the tournament was a success for Andover’s four competitors. Paintal’s strong performance at the national level bodes well for his imminent final season wearing PA Blue both in New England and again on the national stage.