Girls Wrestling Places First at NEPSWA Championships, Boys Finish Top Ten

Andover hosted the NEPSWA championships for the first time in the Snyder Center.

Co-Captain Colin Nugent ’23 finishes NEPSWA Championship run with two pins and a technical fall.

Andover Wrestling hosted the New England Independent School Wrestling Association (NEPSWA) Championship for the first time in the Snyder Center on Friday and Saturday. The team won its repeat NEPSWA title in the Girls division with 224 points, while the boys placed ninth out of 41 teams in attendance. 

Julian Rios ’26 represented the team in the 106 pound weight class, becoming the first Andover wrestler to win the Prep Division since 2017. Finishing his run with two pins and a 3-2 win in the finals, Rios has remained undefeated this season. 

“I found it actually very exciting to be able to win my Junior year and I was proud of myself. And I think my team really boosted me and my match… And my goal at the beginning of the season was to win New England’s. And I’m really ecstatic, I was able to reach that goal. And right now my other goal is to place [in the] top three [in] Nationals, which will be tough, but I think that’d be amazing if I was able to do that,” said Rios.

Girls Co-Captain Sakina Cotton ’24 highlighted another Junior who earned high marks at the championship. Despite this being her first season wrestling, Tasha Bohorad ’26 managed to upset a tough opponent, placing second overall in her weight class. 

“She is very athletic already and one of her best matches I think was against the second seed in her bracket. She was done by some at some points, the other person was done. She just kept going, did reversals, hit some good pinning combinations, and won by major decision, which was amazing and surpassed everyone’s expectations,” said Cotton. 

Ben Forman ’23 also highlighted Co-Captain Colin Nugent ’23 for his performance. Entering the final match with two pins and a technical fall, Nugent fell 7-3 to a tough Northfield Mount Hermon (NMH) opponent. 

“Colin Nugent also placed second [in his weight class], very impressive. He also had a very close match versus someone who he has lost to twice. He still lost in the final, but he had a really good fight,” said Forman.

Rios credited the Girls team, Team Abbott, for winning the championship. In his nine years of wrestling, Rios had found it rare for girls to wrestle, but Andover provided Rios and his teammates with a chance to experience a momentous achievement for the girls wrestling community. 

“It’s great to see a lot of girls on a wrestling team because honestly before I came to Andover, it was more uncommon… But coming to Andover and seeing all the girls on the team is really nice. And for them to win it. Since we have so many girls and so much good competition around for girls. It’s awesome,” said Rios.

As twelve wrestlers from Andover – three from the Prep Division and nine from the Girls Division – set sights on the National Prep Wrestling Championships, Rios commented on how the team plans to prepare. Other than drilling, the team has been traveling to other schools to practice against a variety of opponents.

“I’m feeling really confident and feel good about the training I’ve been doing. My coaches have been great… And I think I can do good at Nationals. And I think I had great performances [in] New England’s and [NEPSWA]…. [For training,] we’ve been like wrestling other people or going out to wrestle other people in different practice rooms, which has also really helped,” said Rios. 

Cotton hopes the team can maintain focus and stamina as it heads to Nationals. She emphasized the importance of each athlete persevering and putting in all their effort on the mat. 

“I just want to see us stay in that mental mindset because a lot of [wrestling] is your mental capacity. Are you willing to leave it on the mat, if it’s your fourth match? So I just really want to be there, helping to support each other and also cheering them on when I’m not preparing for my match,” said Cotton. 

Andover Wrestling will compete at the National Prep Wrestling Championships this weekend in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.