Andover Wrestling competed at the Class A Interschols Tournament, placing fourth out of 12 teams with 141 points. The team missed a top-three finish by only three points, and will send six wrestlers to the New England regional tournament.
Ian Blythe ’16, Holden Ringer ’16 and Christian Millotte ’16 qualified for New England’s at Class A’s, while Captain Justin Muchnick ’16, Alex Cleveland ’17 and Alex Humphreys ’15 qualified earlier in the season.
The team’s performance was a result of the season-long effort to prepare for the tournament.
Humphreys said, “Practices progressively became more intensive, but we only drilled basic moves. This allowed all of the first year wrestlers to just out-tough the opponent. It was a grind, but the coaches know what they’re doing, and we became tougher wrestlers as the season progressed.”
Head Coach Rich Gorham said, “The regular-season is preparation for the post-season tournaments, and the Class A Interschols tournament is the crown jewel for us. We design the season to peak at the Class A.”
Cleveland began the meet by pinning his first opponent at :26, but he fell to Loomis Chaffee’s Ian Mann. Cleveland quickly made up for this by defeating Wilbraham & Monson’s Kevin Lyskawa for the third place finish in the 106-pound weight class.
Ringer faced a similar situation as Cleveland. After his win against Worcester Academy’s opponent, he fell to Tabor’s Jack Rielly. Ringer quickly pinned his next opponent with 4:06 left in the period, securing the last spot on the podium in the 145-pound weight class.
Blythe won close decision in his first matchup. After one win and one loss in the next two matchups, he faced Choate’s Dylan Wallace. He could not overcome his skilled opponent and earned a fourth place finish.
In the 170-pound weight class, Milotte was also able to defeat his first opponent with a pin at :57. Still in the winners’ bracket, Milotte squared off against Philip Rubin from Tabor, who possessed a season record of 21-6. In a challenging matchup, Milotte succumbed at 1:24. Unfazed by his defeat, Milotte bounced back by pinning his Hyde competitor at :54. In his final matchup, Milotte won a close decision by a 8-7 margin and earned third place.
Humphreys represented at the 285 weight class. Humphreys continued his string of strong performances with two successive pins. In the final matchup, Humphreys lost a close match to claim second in the tournament.
Gorham said, “This year we had a very young team – only two Seniors went to Interschols, three Uppers and seven Juniors and Lowers combined. The team showed good development during the course of the season and blossomed at Interschols, performing much better than expected.”
Andover’s performance this year improved on last season’s fifth place finish, proving that hard work and persistence compensated for inexperience.
“I am proud of this team – they worked hard for their success,” concluded Gorham.
At New England’s on Friday and Saturday, Andover will look to back up its strong showing from Class A’s.