Five Finalists Lead Andover to 2nd Place Finish at New Englands

With 150 points, Andover Wrestling set a new school record for team points and captured second place at the New England Prep School Championships last weekend. Co-Captain Ryan Gaiss ’11 led the team by winning his first New England title and fourth overall New England medal, after placing sixth two consecutive years and second last year. Gaiss, a #1 seed, lived up to the expectations by skillfully defeating all four of his opponents. Gaiss, still undefeated on the season, has 99 career wins, the second most in school history. Fellow Co-Captain Colton Dempsey ’12 won his second New England title. Dempsey blew through all of his opponents, pinning all four of his foes in just over six minutes. To put that in perspective, a full-length match takes six minutes. He was about 20 seconds away from capturing the “Most Pins, Least Amount of Time” award. Brandon Sneider ’12 placed second in the 125 lbs division. He earned his third New England medal and his first second place medal after finishing third the two previous years. In the semifinal match, Sneider won 7-6 despite severely spraining his ankle in the middle of the match. “It seemed like that was the longest four minutes of my life. Trying to wrestle with only one foot was one of the most difficult things, but I just hated the idea of not making the finals. Pulling out the win against a very tough opponent makes this one of the most memorable matches of my career,” said Sneider. Christian Vallis ’14 wrestled well, earning his first New England medal by placing second overall. He went 3-1 on the day, pinning two of his opponents. In the final, Vallis lost a heartbreaking 4-2 match. “I thought as a team, we did great. Having five finalists is very impressive. Although I was disappointed by my finals loss, I was still satisfied that I got there,” said Vallis. Anthony Tedesco ’12 also grabbed second, at 152 lbs Tedesco was also injured in his semifinal match. After leading 8-0, Tedesco was put on his back and injured his shoulder in the process of getting off his back. He went on to pin his opponent with 20 seconds left in the match. Will Park ’11, exceeded his #4 seed, finishing third after a 4-1 record on the day. Park wrestled tough, sustaining wins over quality opponents, earning his second New England medal. Sven Lerner ’13 surged from his #9 seed to a quality fifth place finish. Lerner wrestled valiantly on the day, beating several quality opponents including a second period pin in his sixth match of the day. Andover also benefited from strong performances from newcomer Auggie Horner ’14 at 103 lbs and veteran Ken Tharp ’11 at 189 lbs Veteran Robert Palmer ’11 was scheduled to wrestle at 160 lbs but was forced to pull out of the competition due to medical reasons. Palmer will be allowed to wrestle at Nationals. Andover Wrestling prepares for a big week ahead as all seven place winners have qualified to compete in the National Prep School Championships. After an eigth place finish last year, Gaiss has been seeded sixth and looks to exceed that expectation. Dempsey also secured the seventh seed. Wrestling will take place on Friday and Saturday.