In the absence of George Ryckman ’24, Sakina Cotton ’24 stepped up in the 113-weight class in the first match of the meet and pinned her opponent. During the rest of the meet, Andover Wrestling would ultimately fall short against Phillips Exeter Academy and win against Hyde. Saturday’s results place Andover Wrestling at a record of 3-3.
According to Miles Palmer ’23, Cotton’s win against Exeter followed a run of great performances for the Junior Varsity team. Her win set the stage and momentum for Andover to get two more wins.
“Everyone was cheering and it was sort of a thing where Sakina in her exhibition, in JV matches, she’s been doing well, and we’re all [happy] to see her get a chance to prove herself on the varsity stage. And from there, we won our next two matches. Up until then, we had some matches where, as I said, people just started getting gassed and got beat,” said Palmer.
Palmer noted Exeter’s techniques as being very powerful while wrestling on top. Andover had to adapt to Exeter’s strength and stay focused on the bottom, which had been practiced all week.
Palmer said, “Exeter, they were really strong wrestling on top. At Andover, we teach how to wrestle from bottom, and most teams do. So that was a bit of an adjustment that we had to make.”
On the other hand, Andover had more success against Hyde with an aggressive and proactive wrestling style which allowed the team to get many pins and points from offensive plays, according to Palmer.
Palmer said, “[Against] Hyde… we were more aggressive with Hyde and that led to us getting a lot of pins, most of them in the first period.”
Head Coach Kassie Archambault ’06 emphasized the role of Andover Wrestling Co-Captains, Arnav Bhakta ’22 and Colin Nugent ’23 on the day. Bhakta demonstrated dominance over his opponent for the whole match, while Nugent’s match was characterized by wrestling intelligence and technicality, according to Coach Archambault.
“Our efforts were led by our co-captains, Arnav Bhakta ’22 and Colin Nugent ’23. Arnav stayed in control the entire match against Exeter, outscoring his opponent 9-1, before finally pinning his opponent to earn the team 6 team points. Colin also dominated against a very experienced opponent. It was smart, solid wrestling and his best technical match of the entire season,” wrote Coach Archambault in an email to The Phillipian.
Dani Nugent ’25 says her practice with Bhakta paid off in her match, where she was able to take her opponent down immediately.
“We weren’t on our feet for a while, I just took them down right away. So I was able to spend the rest of the match working for the pin, which was important for the match to get six points… I was practicing with Arnav right away what I was going to do off the whistle. So that was just kind of relieving to just take them down right away,” said Nugent.
For Coach Archambault, the team being able to reflect and recover from the Exeter defeat to play against Hyde was an important facet of the victory, and elaborated that dual meets were key to preparing the team for tournament season in February.
“All of our dual meets are to get ready for tournament season in February. In a tournament, you have to be ready to shake off the previous match and focus on the next one. That’s what the team did for our second dual meet against Hyde,” wrote Coach Archambault.
Andover will follow its win against Hyde with an away meet against Roxbury Latin this Saturday.
Editor’s Note: Miles Palmer ’23 is a Copy Associate for The Phillipian