The 2011-2012 LC Wrestling season came to a close this weekend with an excellent performance by the JV squad at Tabor Academy (a full description of which, courtesy of Coach Bour, can be found under the JV results) and some tough wrestling by our three national qualifiers at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Though none of our wrestlers managed to make it to the second day (which requires three wins against some of the country’s best prep school competition), we can’t be anything but proud of the way our boys wrestled. Both Nate Cleveland (120) and Sam Broda (145) came out swinging against two of the top-ranked wrestlers in the country, Liberty Christian’s Andrew Atkinson, seeded #3 in the tournament, and Blair Academy’s Dylan Milonas, seeded #1. Nate and Sam both went after takedowns and fought off a couple of early attacks before succumbing to what can only be explained as the superior coaching (and brute physicality) of their opponents. (Atkinson would later take 4th, and Milonas 2nd, in the tournament.)
Nate’s last match of the year was a battle against a gawky, boot-strap tough grappler from West-Mont Christian. After an early takedown by West-Mont, the match whipped back and forth for the better part of three periods, toward the end of which Nate flung himself into a precarious reversal, sinking a leg-ride on his tripoding opponent. Though this pushed the match nearly even, Nate eventual slipped off the head and lost control. Still, for the first time this season, Nate had spent the match getting off bottom and to his feet over and over again, finishing an excellent high school career with a moment of pure intensity—something which we he can be completely proud of.
Likewise, at 145, Sam Broda wrestled as well as I’ve seen him wrestle all season. After a brutal draw (into that #1 seed from Blair), Sam recovered and knocked off a brick of a wrestler from Cape Henry. As with most matches in the National Prep tournament, the final score was close, at 3-0, and not completely indicative of Sam’s dominance in the match. Aside from getting out on bottom in the second period and landing chest-deep on a double in the first period (out of which he scored the only takedown of the match), Sam finished the third period in complete control, cranking a power half for the better part of two minutes. In his final match of the tournament, Sam wrestled in much the same way. The score was 2-0 in the third period, but the match was never in question. After an early reversal in the second period, Sam rode out his opponent for over a minute. When his opponent chose bottom in the third period, we weren’t worried—and for good reason: Sam again controlled the VFMA wrestler for over a minute. Unfortunately, one of the worst refereeing calls of the day—a lightning quick defensive pin from a crab-ride—cut short Sam’s tournament. (I’ve seen maybe one or two of these called EVER.) Watching the competition throughout the rest of the day, we’re convinced that Sam would’ve made it into the placing rounds. Either way, we’re happy that he finished his career wrestling his best—attacking aggressively, staying off bottom, and completely dominating his opponents from top.
Zach Harris (160), the only underclassman who advanced to the tournament, wrestled similarly well, racking up significant point differentials (e.g., 9-2) before pinning opponents from Liberty Christian and Long Island Lutheran. His newfound (or rediscovered) ability to shoot helped him push the pace in both matches, and his habitual toughness on top sealed the falls. In fact, Zach’s only poor match was his last, which he lost in relatively little time to a (rather large) opponent from St. Christopher’s. Even against the #2 seeded wrestler from St. Paul’s (Md.), Zach pushed the tempo of the match well into the third period (when, in a fit of negligence, he stayed on his knees a little two long and let his opponent get higher than him). His opponent walked off the mat barely able to shake our hands and mumbled something clearly intended to signify his surprise and respect. That’s the kind of match we want to be wrestling every week, and that Zach can learn from for the future. All in all, though luck was not entirely with us, our boys wrestled the type of tournament that Loomis Wrestling can be proud of, and which we can use to build toward next year.
On that note, I’d like to thank all of our parents and fans for their support this year. We couldn’t have had such a good season—in and out of competition—without your help. Likewise, congratulations to all of our seniors on a job well done. We’ve had a great time working with this team, and that wouldn’t have been possible without your leadership, humor, and hard work.
Underclassmen: Great work! Now, set your goals: Next season begins now!
Senior Zechariah Harris placed fifth in the 182-pound weight class at the Prep National Wrestling Tournament at Lehigh University on Saturday, surpassing his No. 9 seed in the tournament and becoming Loomis Chaffee's first All-American wrestler since his older brother, Caleb Harris '11, carried the mantle in 2011.
Ten Loomis Chaffee wrestlers competed in the New England Prep Championships on Saturday at Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts. By the time the final match ended, Loomis had advanced six grapplers to the Prep National Championship at Lehigh University.
Loomis welcomed 12 teams to the Island on Saturday for the Class A Wrestling Tournament. The event, which started at 9 a.m., was a tight battle through the last pairing at 6 p.m. After the dust settled and the points were tallied, the Pelicans emerged victorious. Loomis claimed the title with a one-point margin over No. 2 Choate, 199-198.