Despite a quick pin from Alex Cleveland ’17, early individual losses against Choate sullied Andover’s chances in its third loss of the young season. Choate narrowly escaped 36-39 to drop Andover to 0-3 on the season.
“More than anything, I feel this loss will be a turning point in our season. Losing a meet so closely has made us hungrier and even more willing to put in the effort for training on and off of the mat,” said Christian Milotte ’16. “I am certain that we will use this loss to better and [to] motivate ourselves for future success.”
Holden Ringer ’17 was the first to wrestle for Andover and fell to his opponent in a close 7-8 loss in the 152-lb weight class. After Ringer, Ian Blythe ’16 was pinned in 1:02.
“Choate looked more refined than we did. We have struggled desperately this season in terms of injuries, and we could see that Choate was just that bit sharper than we were,” said Milotte.
After these defeats, Andover turned around the meet by winning most of the following matches. Milotte won in his Andover debut by pinning his opponent in 1:00.
Cleveland’s pin came after Milotte’s win and put Andover in the lead until late in the match. It took Cleveland just 1:44 to pin his opponent. All of Andover’s wins came via pins in short periods of time—usually between one and two minutes.
In the last match, Evan Park ’18 fought for 4:24 before being pinned.
“I think the best thing that came out of Choate is that we learned that we, as a team, are capable of competing… I think Choate showed us that we can definitely win matches and meets. The meet came down to the very last match, which is a better showing than those of our meets before break,” said Captain Justin Muchnick ’16.
Andover has been working to improve its skills throughout the season and is now beginning to see some of the results of their training. The three point margin of defeat was much less significant than the 18-point loss to Nobles in the first meet of the season.
“I think we need to work on wrestling tough for all six minutes. In a really close duel with some close matches, there are inevitably many moments that can change the dynamic of the entire meet. Whether it’s coming out hard and physical in the first period or grinding out a takedown in the last ten seconds, little moments can make a big difference,” said Muchnick. “We need to be physically fit and mentally focused – not just for a period, but for a complete match – if we want to capitalize on every opportunity, and at the end of the day, we didn’t quite do that at Choate.”
Andover will square off against Northfield Mount Hermon at home on Saturday hoping to secure a win.
“If we show up every day from now until Class A’s ready to grind and improve, I think we can make some waves come tournament season and get some team wins under our belt along the way,” said Muchnick.