Wrestling Earns Third Place at New England Prep Tournament

Looking to cap off one of the most successful seasons in recent years, Andover traveled to Avon Old Farms and the New England Prep Tournament this weekend, led by a talented senior class and decorated Co-Captain Shaun Stuer ’09. While most teams traveled to Exeter, in the final action of the season, the Andover squad wrestled to a 146 point total to earn third place in its last match, the most of recent years for Phillips Academy. As has held true through the season, the powerful class of 2009 pulled Andover to its impressive finish, behind only Belmont Hill and NMH. Scott Sanderson ’09 took sixth place at 152 lbs, Sam Dodge took fifth place at 171 lbs, Ben Elder ’09 took third place at the 145 lb slot, and Co-Captain Shaun Stuer ’09 recorded a New England title at the 189 lb weight class. Going into the tournament, Stuer was seeded #1, after a 2-loss regular season and undefeated dual meet record, a Class A title, and an All-American sixth place finish at Nationals. However, Stuer’s road to the title in New England’s included one of the most thrilling bouts of the season. In the semifinal matchup, Stuer faced an opponent from Trinity-Pawling who took Shaun to a four round overtime. Stuer outlasted his strong foe, and earned a 5-4 victory. In the finals, after being thrown on to his back in the first period, Shaun recovered and secured a crushing pin in the early second period. With this victory, Stuer became eighth all time on Andover’s wrestling win list with a season record of 31-2 and a career record of 75-8. Stuer and Co-Captain Reid Mosquera ’09 now hand the reigns over to newly elected captains Duncan Crystal ’10 and Ryan Gaiss ’11, who placed second and sixth at New Englands, respectively. Crystal wrestled the best he has all year, and lost by only one point in the finals 3-2. In the semi-finals, Crystal, seeded fourth, beat the number one seed from Belmont Hill in an astounding come-from-behind victory after being down 3-0. “A New England title would have been absolutely unbelievable, but beating that #1 seed has been my goal ever since he pinned me earlier in the season,” said Crystal. “Beating him, and placing second, makes it that much sweeter.” Crystal commented that one of the goals he sees for next year’s team is for the already dominating freshman class to grow and continue to devastate other teams next year. At New Englands, two members of the class of 2012 placed in the top three. Colton Dempsey ’12 took second, while Brandon Sneider ’12 took third after being seeded seventh overall. Dempsey ended his rookie year with a freshman school record of 28 total victories, and is the first freshman since 2002 to make it to the New England finals. With budding talent in every weight class, the 2010-2011 season looks promising. Although Andover will say goodbye to their senior leaders, this year’s season will be remembered by all of them, and especially by Stuer. Said Stuer of this season, “We were a group of ordinary people who came together to accomplish something extraordinary.”