Andover Wrestling followed up a strong showing at New Englands with a third and sixth place finish at Nationals.
Co-Captain Pierce Bausano ’18 and Adam Cohen ’18 automatically qualified for Nationals after their fifth place and fourth place performances at the 2018 NEISWA Prep Championships (New Englands), respectively. Co-Captain Pablo Sanchez ’19 and Eamon Garrity-Rokous ’20 qualified for the tournament as alternates, as they both finished seventh at New Englands. Sanchez was able to enter his bracket and won two of his matches.
The team was able to succeed despite the challenge of the matches and previous injuries. Bausano and Sanchez both fought through the adversity of tough matches and injuries, according to Garrity-Rokous.
According to Marisol Nugent ’20, Cohen astounded his teammates with his performance at the end of the tournament.
In the semifinals, Cohen beat an opponent who had previously beat him twice to allow him to advance, however he was not able to participate in his last match due to injury.
According to Garrity-Rokous, Cohen’s performance was so admirable that many believed he was in contention for the All-American team.
Garrity-Rokous said, “Adam Cohen really shocked us all. I thought he was definitely good enough to be an All-American. If the bracket turned out differently, like if he had a different path to an All-American place, he would have become an All-American, but he was going against people who had previously beat him, and he had a tough draw. In the end we were all proud.”
At New Englands, Andover was allowed to bring eight wrestlers; however, two were injured and were unable to compete. Only six wrestlers, Matt Suri ’21, Nick Masri ’19, Garrity-Rokous, Bausano, Sanchez, and Cohen participated in the tournament. The team faced challenges against Belmont Hill and Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH), which train year-round, making them tougher competitors, according to Garrity-Rokous. Toward the end of the season, the team focused on honing their skills and perfecting each move.
Garrity-Rokous said, “We worked on specific kinks in our wrestling: moves that we knew we had to work on and moves that we had done all season that we knew we needed to work on the small aspects of. Pablo worked on and perfected a sweep single, and he really perfected it. It really showed how much better he got in the last two weeks because he kept on hitting the same move, and it worked every time, even though the opponent knew it was coming.”
This weekend, Andover will send two wrestlers to compete at Girls High School Nationals.