Co-Captains Crystal ’10 and Gaiss ’11 Earn All-American Honors

Led by Co-Captains Duncan Crystal ’10 and Ryan Gaiss ’11, who both won All-American honors, the Andover wrestling team finished the season with a 27th place finish at the Prep School Nationals. Seven Andover wrestlers qualified for Nationals by finishing in the top eight in the their respective weight classes at New Englands. Brandon Sneider ’12, Colton Dempsey ’12, Will Park ’11, Alex Du ’10 and Anthony Tedesco ’12 joined Crystal and Gaiss at Nationals. “The kids at this tournament were the best of the best. We don’t go down there expecting to have the same success we do in New England. Everyone kept themselves in their matches, which I was really happy to see. Although we didn’t wrestle as well as we did at New Englands, everyone ended the season on a good note, despite a loss,” said Crystal. Crystal finished a prolific Andover career with a seventh place finish, his first time achieving All-American status in his four years at Andover. In the seventh and eighth place match, Crystal squared off against the same opponent who he faced in the New England finals. Crystal launched his opponent onto his back in the first period, pulling away to a sizeable lead early in the match. Crystal dominated throughout, winning 8-1. Gaiss also earned All-American honors, placing eighth in the nation. Seeded tenth, Gaiss defeated the seventh seed from St. Marks School of Texas to qualify for the quarterfinals. In the third period of the St. Mark’s match, Gaiss ran straight through his opponent, hitting a double on the line that scored for a take-down. Gaiss continued to physically dominate his opponent, eventually forcing the wrestler to forfeit later in the third period. Gaiss wrestled his New England finals opponent from Belmont Hill in the quarterfinals. Evenly matched wrestlers, the two battled for the entire six minutes, but Gaiss fell short, losing 3-1. “Having two All-Americans is a great accomplishment for the team. Both guys worked hard all season long to achieve such an honor and put in the effort outside the season that is necessary for such success. It is not a coincidence that our two All-Americans are the captains. These guys were true leaders on the mat,” said Dempsey. Both Dempsey and Sneider fell one match short of placing. Wrestling unseeded, Sneider squared off against the fifth seed in his second match. Sneider kept the match within grasp the entire time, but lost 4-6. Gaiss said, “I was really impressed with Sneider’s wrestling this week. He was an unseeded wrestler, which means he was not expected to do anything. He certainly made some noise this weekend and his future is very promising.” Dempsey also wrestled an impressive tournament, despite not placing. He went 3-2 on the day, beating a opponent from Dematha Catholic 8-4 in a close match. Park and Du both represented the team well, giving the best effort they could despite being outmatched. Du said, “Having wrestled only three years, my assumption that the competition was much more talented than me was certainly correct. It was my final stand, and I gave my all. Despite getting beat up, it was an amazing experience to wrestle in such a great atmosphere. I will always remember it.” The team will be led by newly elected Co-Captains Dempsey and Gaiss next year as the team looks to improve upon its 9-4 dual meet record and third place New England finish this season.