Dramatic Comeback Propels Andover Wrestling to First Win in Pan Athletic Center

Andover Wrestling previously competed in the Borden Memorial Gym before moving to the Pan Athletic Center.

Four pins and two 6-4 decisions allowed Andover Wrestling to overcome an early 3-24 deficit to St. Paul’s on Wednesday. With a final score of 45-30, the team opened its season by securing a victory in Andover’s new facility, the Pan Athletic Center.

After over two years of construction, the Pan opened its doors on Monday, allowing the team to gain access to the building’s new Lawrence Family Wrestling Suite. Just two days after Pan’s opening, the team hosted its first dual meet. Isa Matloff ’24 explained that the facility change boosted the morale of the team and spectators. 

“It was really fun to be in the wrestling environment and the new wrestling room… The crowd was very hype, for lack of better words. Everyone being in that room for the first time and being the first matches of the year. The first blood drawn on the mats of the year. It was just a really exciting time,” said Matloff.  

In addition to the new environment, the team’s new wrestlers contributed to the high level of energy and excitement on Wednesday. Dani Nugent ’25 highlighted the excitement of newer wrestlers to showcase the moves they had learned just a few days prior. 

“We had a lot of excited wrestlers here for their first match, so the wrestlers that weren’t currently wrestling were cheering everyone on. It was a really good atmosphere,” said Nugent. 

After a teammate’s loss in the meet’s opening match, Ben Forman ’23 leveled out the team score with a tight 6-4 decision. Forman shared a similar sentiment to Nugent, explaining that the support of the crowd and fellow teammates served as motivation on the mat. 

“I was definitely a little out of shape and could work on my pinning combos, but I was very happy to come away with the win, especially since it’s the first time I’ve gone the distance in a match. Also, [it’s a] very fun team environment and great to have a crowd supporting us since we’ve had such few home meets over the past year,” said Forman.  

For the rest of the team, the successful season opener will provide a foundation to build upon in the coming weeks. Matloff explained how teammates received frequent feedback during their matches.

“We got a lot of notes about sprawling, which is one of our wrestling moves today. We got a lot of notes about conditioning and being able to stay wrestling for all six minutes if we need to. I think just generally keeping up the team spirit, which we have no problem with. Trying to keep everyone getting better. Not just trying to work your own moves, but work them with people in a way that will get you both better,” said Matloff. 

William Buehler ’24 noted aspects the team could improve on for its next meet.   

“We’ll work on condition for endurance. Building up better move sets, being able to adapt to what we’ve seen on the mats. It’s an adaptive sport. I think our strategy for us now revolves around what we’ve seen these weeks,” said Buehler. 

Looking ahead, the team will be hosting three more regular season meets in addition to the New England Championships at the end of the season. In the meantime, the team hopes to better adapt to the new facility in order to gain the home team advantage. 

“It’s much easier hooking up to the speakers, so practice music is always a little bit nicer. And also, I think just being in a new space gives a little bit of space to spread out. Also new space to create a new team identity, especially for a lot of the kids who are rookies this year…. We have a little dedicated space for possibly some weight training stuff and a new office which will also give us a new spot to hang our banners and trophies,” said Matloff.  

Andover Wrestling will compete in the Holiday Dual Tournament at Avon Old Farms on Saturday.