With a lack of experience and numerous injuries, Andover Wrestling faced defensive struggles against Roxbury Latin and Belmont Hill on Saturday. Despite winning matches by George Ryckman ’24, Miles Palmer ’23, and co-captain Colin Nugent ’23, the team lost 21-57, setting its record 3-4.
According to Giselle Jones-Mollod ’22, the team was nervous, yet excited going into the matches. However, even with inexperienced wrestlers and other obstacles, the team continued to work hard and enjoyed the second dual meet of the season.
Jones-Mollod said, “We were wrestling against two schools at Roxbury Latin. I was definitely a bit nervous because a lot of people were injured, there’s a lot of new wrestlers, such as [Juniors] and Lowers, who haven’t wrestled on our team before. But, I think it’s also exciting going into the match because it’s one of our last matches of the season. We ended up losing, but everyone had a little fun and they didn’t let people win easily.”
According to Head Coach Kassie Archambault, there is still room to improve on the team’s defensive play which posed a challenge during the meet.
“I would say that in terms of defensive technique, we still have to work on our sprawls and in terms of really hitting them hard and not just stopping, so we can get behind them and score. We’re certainly trying to initiate and trying to score, but their team is also aggressive in their matchups with us,” Coach Archambault said.
Further, Adrian Morrison ’23 and Coach Archambault have both stated that the lack of wrestling experience of most of the players has put the team in more of a transitory period, where players are learning techniques and growing familiar with being on the mat. However, he anticipates a stronger, more well-equipped team next year.
“Half of our lineup has been wrestling since November, so every week I tell them that they’re so brave for stepping out on that map and putting everything that we’ve taught them into play and their matches. I think that this is a rebuilding year for us and [I am] hoping that everyone who joined the team this year will join against next year and that we’ll be a stronger team learning from all of our mistakes this year,” Coach Archambault said.
Morrison said, “It’s definitely forced us to slow down at practice a bit. When we’re learning a new move, we spend a lot of time learning that new move. So for experienced wrestlers, I don’t think it teaches them as much, just because if you know the move, and you spend 20-30 minutes doing it, it’s not as beneficial. I do think bringing everyone up to speed is good in the long run because in the future, two, three years down the line, we’ll have more experienced players and a strong team.”
According to Jones-Mollod, the team can continue to improve by learning to implement executing moves learned during practices during matches.
“I think there’s just a lot of new people; people are trying their best. I think there [are] a lot of areas where we can improve on. When people hit their moves, Coach [Archambault] was talking about this, when people hit the moves we’ve been practicing, I see some great execution. I think it’s about practicing and learning and integrating new plays in actual matches,” Jones-Mollod said.
According to Coach Archambault, there were many great matches that were played despite the team’s loss. In particular, Coach Archambault recognized Nugent’s solid technical skills in his successful match.
Coach Archambault said, “Our co-captain Colin Nugent won his match by a technical fault. A technical fault is when you’re up 15 points, you stop the match. So, he won his match 18-2. He had this solid technique and was just doing his best to score on his opponent. In that match as well, Adrian Morrison wrestled really tough and he won his match 7-5. In terms of Roxbury Latin, George Ryckman, Miles Palmer, and Colin Nugent all had really strong, dominant matches where they stayed in good position and had really good technique.”
Wrestling will next compete at Phillips Exeter Academy for the Bidstrup/Seabrooke Duals on Saturday.
Editor’s Note: Adrian Morrison ’23 is an Associate Copy Editor for The Phillipian.