After his match proceeded into triple overtime, first-year wrestler Arnav Bhakta ’22 defeated his opponent from Thayer at the Northern Invitational Tournament on Saturday.
At the tournament, Andover Wrestling had a total of six Northern New England Champions, two of which claimed their titles as first-year wrestler. The team won the tournament with a score of 221 points and won 37 matches in its competition against 14 other teams.
According to Coach Rich Gorham, this match was Bhakta’s first ever and was one of the highlights of the tournament.
“He has never even seen a wrestling tournament before, and he won it in the finals in triple overtime, which as many overtimes as you can ever get in a wrestling match… In the third overtime he scored two points to win the match. Anyone who was there would tell you it was the match of the tournament” said Gorham.
According to Vinny Marino ’19, Bhakta’s match was a unique moment in Marino’s experience as a wrestler due to Bhakta being at a disadvantage in his weight class.
“I’ve been wrestling for eight years and that has never happened to me before. It’s his first year wrestling, first ever tournament, he worked hard and got away with it. He also weighed 9 pounds underweight, which is a huge disadvantage, so to have that and still win the tournament in his first year is really impressive.” said Marino.
Ellerman Mateo ’21 also earned a title in his first year as a wrestler.
Co-Captain Eamon Garrity-Rokous ’20 said, “Both Arnav’s win in triple overtime, that was pretty huge and the whole team was pumped up for him to win that match and then Ellerman who is also a first year wrestler who won in the tournament. It’s really sensational to have two first year wrestlers win in the tournament.”
According to Coach Gorham, the team developed its confidence on Saturday.
Coach Gorham said, “After what’s been a kind of mediocre season so far, we really blossomed on Saturday…We started to develop confidence, we have had a lot of wrestlers and certainly our first years who don’t have a lot of confidence because they are just learning, but even some of our better wrestlers too…They began to believe in themselves and wrestle more aggressively.”
This Friday, Andover will host Interscholastic Class A.