Seven First-Place Finishes Secure Andover Win in Northern Invitational Tournament

This past Saturday, Andover Wrestling won the 2011 Northern Invitational Tournament in Hyde, Maine by an incredible 75 point margin. Andover racked up an amazing 253.5 overall points, led by seven first place finishers, Christian Vallis ’14 at 112 pounds, Brandon Sneider ’12 at 125 pounds, Will Park ’11 at 135 pounds, Co- Captain Colton Dempsey ’12 at 140 pounds, Co- Captain Ryan Gaiss ’11 at 145 pounds, Anthony Tedesco ’12 at 152 pounds, and Robert Palmer ’11 at 160 pounds. Andover also gained some crucial points in third place finishes by Auggie Horner ’14 at 103 pounds, Brian Hanafin ’12 at 125 pounds, James Palmer ’14 at 171 pounds, and Ken Tharp ’11 at 189 pounds. Horner went 3-1 on the day, wrestling exceptionally well, earning him an impressive third place finish. After a bye and a win by forfeit, Vallis went on to pin his next opponent and win a hard fought 2-0 match in the finals, solidifying his first place finish. Sneider went 4-0 on the day, including three pins and one win by forfeit, earning him a first place finish as well. Hanafin also wrestled at 125 pounds and wrestled very well, going 3-1 on the day. Both Park and Gaiss went undefeated on the day, each finishing 3-0. Dempsey, who was voted Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament, went 4-0 on the day, pinning all of his opponents in a total of 2:24. Tedesco and Palmer both went 4-0 on the day as well, to seal each of their first place finishes. Tedesco pinned his first three opponents with ease before winning a hard fought 8-3 victory in the finals. Palmer was able to pin all four of his opponents to secure his victory. James Palmer and Ken Tharp both finished third at 171 pounds and 189 pounds, respectively, each going 4-1 on the day. Palmer won his first two matches before losing to a tough Tilton wrestler. He bounced back to win 5-4 in an intense third place match. Tharp also won his first two matches, before losing in the third round. Following a busy weekend, Andover took on rival Exeter at home on Wednesday. The match started with veteran Tedesco wrestling at 152 pounds, dominating his opponent, pinning him before the end of the first period. Robert Palmer, wrestling at 160 pounds, followed Tedesco’s lead by also pinning his opponent, giving Andover a 12-0 lead. James Palmer, wrestling at 171 pounds, fought valiantly against the first ranked New England wrestler, avoiding the pin, allowing Andover to keep a comfortable 12-4 lead. Exeter gained momentum, however, winning the rest of the heavyweight divisions and the 103 pound match to pull ahead 28-12. Despite the deficit, Andover was able to charge back, with a win by forfeit for Vallis at 112 pounds, and two pins by Sneider at 125 pounds and Sven Lerner ’13 at 130 pounds. This string of wins brought Andover within four points of the lead. The trio of Park, Dempsey and Gaiss finished off the meet for Andover, demolishing their opponents to give Andover the 47-34 win. Captain Gaiss’s 3-0 record at the Northern Invitational, as well as his win against Exeter, his last home meet of his Andover career, makes him a perfect 16-0 on the season. Gaiss’ overall record is now 91-20, placing him fourth in all-time wins. Andover looks ahead to the Class A championships, where they hope to challenge rival NMH for the title.