Ten Wrestlers Place at New England Class A Championship

Andover Wrestling walked away from the fiftieth annual Class A league wrestling tournament with four individual first place finishers. The champions were Christian Vallis ’14, Brandon Sneider ’12, Co-Captain Colton Dempsey ’12 and Co-Captain Ryan Gaiss ’12. Ten wrestlers placed in the top four places of their respective weight classes, amassing 220 points and falling just shy of Northfield Mount Hermon who repeated as champions. Auggie Horner ’14, who came into the tournament as the second seed in the 103 pound division, placed third in the Class A tournament with a 2-1 record overall, qualifying him for New England Championships in the first year of his wrestling career. Christian Vallis ’14 earned a first place finish in the 112 pound division, becoming the first junior to win a Class A Championship. He went 4-0 en route to his championship, winning a close 1-0 victory against a tough competitor in the semifinal match. “Christian [Vallis] wrestled a great tournament. He showed that he has the ability to keep a cool head on the mat, despite the tension being high. The ability to control the tempo is huge in wrestling and that skill will certainly help him throughout his wrestling career. After this weekend, Christian is ready to take on the best in New England,” said Dempsey. Sneider dominated his competition, pinning his way to the final and winning in decisive fashion in the finals. At 130 pounds, S ven Lerner ’13, a fourth seed in his division, exceeded expectations with a third place finish and a 3-1 record in the tournament. Lerner ran into the eventual champion in the semifinals but was able to bounce back and take third. Veteran Will Park ’11, who wrestled at 135 pounds, finished in second place with a 2-1 record. He squared off with All-American Tyler Ponte from NMH, who showed that he is certainly a national-level competitor. Co-Captain Ryan Gaiss went a perfect 4-0 in the 145 pound division en route to a first place finish. Gaiss pinned both of his opponents and received a forfeit in the finals. Gaiss became Andover’s first ever three-time Class A champion. Anthony Tedesco ’12 placed second in the 152 pound division with a 3-1 record. Robert Palmer ’11 wrestled five tough matches on the day, going 4-1 to secure a well deserved 3rd place finish. In his consolation finals match, Palmer defeated his rival from Loomis, who he had split with during the season. Ken Tharp ’11 wrestled in the 189 pound division and also wrestled five matches on the day, pinning three opponents to seal a fourth place finish. Despite being heavily outmatched, Tharp displayed great “mat sense” as he faced an Exeter post graduate. Tharp lost the match, but is 5-2 loss was a great improvement from his pin in the regular season. “I am proud of both the team’s performance and my own,” Tharp said. “My wins were a tangible measure of the work put in by me, individually, and the vast strides the team has made.” With a solid record of 27 wins and 10 losses, Andover wrestling turned in an outstanding performance on the day. Andover looks ahead to the Prep New England tournament at the Brooks School, where Andover will send ten wrestlers to compete.