Wrestling Rebounds From First Loss With Two Definitive Wins; Team Prepares To Face First-Ranked Class A Powerhouse NMH

Narrowly edging out the then first-ranked wrestler in New England, Co-Captain Hector Cintron ’08 performed impressively this past week, contributing to another successful week for Andover Wrestling. Wrestling earned a pair of wins against tough squads St. Paul’s School and Governor’s Academy, continuing its quest for the Class A title. Coming off a narrow last-match victory last Wednesday against Worcester Academy, Andover came out on Saturday ready to prove why it is ranked among the best teams in New England. The day began with a match against St. Paul’s School, the only team in New England to have beaten Class A powerhouse Northfield Mount Hermon in a dual meet this year. Knowing full well the quality of the competition, Andover exploded out to an early lead and never looked back. Danny McMurtrie ’10 led off for the Blue at the 160 lb. weight class, winning a grueling match of attrition by a score of 12-7. Co-Captain Cintron followed McMurtrie at the 171 lb. weight class in what was without question the best match of the day. Despite allowing an early takedown to go down 2-0, Cintron was able to maintain a controlled aggression throughout the entire match. Making few mistakes while continuing a relentless attack, Cintron quickly capitalized on the few openings he was given closing in for the win at 4-3. Riding on the momentum from Cintron’s quality victory, Co-Captain Shaun Stuer ’09 wrestled a similarly impressive match, defeating another quality opponent, 4-2. Absent any eligible wrestlers, Andover was forced to forfeit the 103 and 119 lb. weight classes, giving St. Paul’s a momentary flash of hope but Andover proceeded to rack up four consecutive wins to put the match beyond reach, winning by a final score of 37-19. Other highlights included the wrestling of Ryan Gaiss ’11, who moved up a weight class to pin an opponent with a significant weight advantage, as well as the performance of Duncan Crystal ’10, who won an impressive 5-0 shutout victory. Andover’s momentum from the match against St. Paul’s carried through the subsequent meet against Governor’s Academy. Still sweating from his earlier triumph, Co-Captain Cintron began for Andover with a pin. Co-Captain Stuer followed suit, and Reid Mosquera ’09 made it three-in-a-row to put Andover ahead 18-0. After a string of forfeits by both teams from 103 to 119, Crystal reopened the wrestling with a dominating performance, winning by technical fall (leading by 15 points at any time during the match), 15-0. After having won a number of close three-period matches in previous weeks, Gaiss appeared to have gotten impatient, following Crystal with his second first-period pin of the day. After a forfeit and a pair of tough losses, Chris Latham ’09 put Andover back on track with a pin in just 41 seconds, placing the match out of reach for Governor’s. Sam Dodge ’09 finished off the day with a pin at 160 with just one second left in the match. With just one week left in the dual meet season, Andover now prepares for its showdown against first-ranked Class A rival, Northfield Mount Hermon. Sporting five impressive post-graduates and several returning league champions, the match against NMH this Saturday will be a tough one. Coach Rich Gorham ’86 said, “Right now, they’re better than us [in terms of technical skill]. But there’s not a team in this league that works harder than we do. Our guys come in early every day and stay late after practice. I’ve added it up, and we can beat NMH. We have to win some matches that we’re not expected to win, but I believe this team can do it.” Andover wrestles NMH this Saturday, and the team the following Saturday begins its tournament season with the Northern New England Invitational.