The Andover Wrestling team hopes to build on its impressive second-place finish at last year’s New England Championship. In a 48-school competition, Andover produced two individual champs and five total medalists, marking Andover’s best finish since ’99. Led by Co-Captains Hector Cintron ’08 and Shaun Stuer ’09, the 2007-2008 team including Reid Mosquera ’09, Duncan Crystal ’10 and Ryan Gaiss ’11 was one of the best teams that Andover has had in a very long time. With Co-Captain Stuer, Crystal and Gaiss returning, the 2008-2009 team looks to be just as promising. Unfortunately, Mosquera suffered a severe injury in the offseason. Despite this season-ending injury, a partially torn ACL, Mosquera continues to remain a leader. “I think that it is remarkable how much of a presence he has in the room despite the fact that he is unable to wrestle thus far,” said Crystal. Although Mosquera is injured, this season’s team has a lot of potential. “The team has high expectations and hopes to win the New England title, which we’ve never won,” said Coach Rich Gorham in a press release to local newspapers. The team’s heavyweight, Alex Gottfried ’09, also posted a solid 17-14 personal tally last year and will likely play a large role in the season’s outcome. Along with four returners, Andover will be strongly reinforced by budding new talent from the classes of 2011 and 2012. Newcomers Will Park ’11, Charles Danner ’11, Anthony Tedesco ’12, Colt Dempsy ’12, Brandon Sneider ’12 and Tim Arena ’12 will fill in new roles in the squad and add to the team’s depth. Coach Gorham sees each newcomer as an extremely valuable asset to an already strong team. “We have a very strong incoming class — as strong as we’ve ever had in my 12 years as head coach. Sneider, Dempsey, Danner, Arena, Park and Tedesco all enter with experience and all could play a role with the varsity this season.” All in all, the general feeling in the wrestling room is that there is no reason that the team won’t put on a show from day one, all the way through to February. “Last year, we prided ourselves on working harder than any other team. All of our hard work paid off with a second-place finish at New Englands. This year’s team looks to improve upon that with hopes of being the Class-A and New England Champions,” said Stuer. The Big Blue’s top competitors will include perennial powerhouses Northfield Mount Hermon, Tabor and Belmont Hill. The season kicks off with the team’s first match against the Noble and Grenough School at home this Saturday at 3 p.m. It is safe to assume that the Andover squad will pick up right where it left off.