On the heels of a season-best performance at Class A’s, Andover Wrestling faltered at the New England Wrestling Championships.
Although six Andover wrestlers qualified, Ian Blythe ’16, Christian Milotte ’16 and Alex Cleveland ’17 were unable to compete due to injuries.
Of the remaining three wrestlers, Alex Humphreys ’15, earned the highest finish at seventh place in the 285-pound weight class.
“The matches I won were because of my experience with heavyweight wrestling, and my opponent’s relative lack of technique. My weaknesses were more with my mentality. I went into my qualifying match underestimating my opponent, and when he proved to be stronger than I expected, I lost confidence in myself and did not wrestle how I normally would,” wrote Humphreys in an email to The Phillipian.
After missing most of the season, Captain Justin Muchnick ’16 returned to the lineup still nursing a torn labrum. In the first match against his Taft opponent, he wrestled cautiously and grinded out a 3-2 victory in a low-scoring affair. He could not, however, advance beyond the round of 12.
Following an impressive performance at Class A’s, Holden Ringer ’17 lost early in the tournament at New Englands. Then, he suffered a narrow, 9-12 defeat in the consolation match.
Andover’s 17 team points were good for 31st out of the 48 teams present at New England’s.
Muchnick said, “The talent at New Englands is the highest that we see all year. Every match is a grind. There aren’t really any of those ‘warm up’ matches that you sometimes get in other tournaments.”
Looking toward next season, Andover has high expectations. The team will only lose three seniors. Muchnick will return as captain alongside newly elected Co-Captain, Blythe.
The strong performance of the JV team this season is a sign of good things to come. “We have a lot of young wrestlers hungry for success. We should return 11 varsity starters, including six league placers, and we hope to make a push for the league title in 2016,” said Head Coach Richard Gorham.