Sports Winter Sports Wrestling

Andover Struggles to Find Its Grip

Ian Blythe ’16 quickly dove at his opponent’s legs, forced him to the ground and won the ensuing struggle by pinning his opponent and securing a small victory for Andover against Andover High last month. Andover left the quad-meet against Brooks, Andover High and North Andover High with a 0-4-0 record.

“We’re wrestling shorthanded right now with some key people out…. We wrestled tough against good competition,” said Head Coach Rich Gorham.

Andover found itself unable to overcome its injuries and lost 51-28, 49-27 and 54-30, respectively.

Alex Humphreys ’15 said, “Both of our captains were injured in early matches, and our only returning [wrestler who participated in the National Prep School Wrestling Championship], Bennett Sherr [’17], had the stomach flu. As a result of all these setbacks, we were forced to forfeit almost half of the matches in each dual. We did have a hope of winning, as the other teams did not have complete rosters either, but they were not struggling the way we were and we did not wrestle to our potential.”

Andover first squared off against Brooks, the defending New England Prep School Champions. Captain Justin Muchnick ’16 and Sherr secured pins in their matches, but the team fell by a discouraging score of 28-51.

The team then prepared to face Andover High, the host school. Andover highlights included successful pins from Blythe and David Moon ’17. Holden Ringer ’17 added a 18-2 victory after winning his match by technical fall, but Andover’s lack of wrestlers hurt the team too much; these small successes were not enough to earn a victory over a predominant Andover High.

Blythe said, “Last year, Andover High [was] not able to fill all of [its] weight classes, but this year [it] had the majority of [its] weight classes filled with strong wrestlers.”

With these losses under its belt, Andover went out onto the mats for its third match of the day against North Andover. Individual gems dotted the match, as Humphreys and John Little ’15 both pinned their opponents and finished the day with 3-0 records. Yet, Andover fell to the neighboring school once again, 30-54.

The numerous forfeits from unfilled positions cost Andover a shot at the matches.

“Right now we are focusing on developing and getting better at a lot of the basics and building into more advanced [techniques] as we move forward. Overall, we are a team that fights hard. We are determined, and all of the younger guys really want to do well, which is great to see,” added Blythe, who ended the meet with two wins.

Humphreys said, “Since the loss to Nobles [& Greenough], the team has been working hard to become more active on the mat. We are a young team, and because of that, many wrestlers are apprehensive once they get onto the mat. We want to be the team that goes out, takes shots and takes control of the mat from the whistle.”

Gorham said, “Each meet is a learning experience. We will get better as the season goes along.”

Andover will square off against Choate on Saturday in pursuit of its first victory of the season.