Boys Wrestling Competes at MAPLs

Sports  /  by Alex Wey '18  /  February 10, 2017

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This past Saturday, Big Red Wrestling went head to head against some of the top schools in the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL), including Mercersburg, Peddie, Hill, and Blair. Although the team was missing a few players due to illness and injury, “everyone who was able to compete fought hard and represented Lawrenceville well,” said Head Coach John Clore. By the end of the tournament, Big Red suffered close losses to Mercersburg (30-46), Hill (36-43), and Blair (6-76) but were able to claim victory against Peddie (48-36).

Throughout the tournament, Big Red made strong impressions on the competition, constantly being aggressive on the mat and showing up their opponents in multiple matches. Certain wrestlers really stepped up to the plate, in particular Captain Will Kuenne ’17. Against Blair, a perennial national wrestling powerhouse, Kuenne showed great skill and leadership during his match, “[hitting] a beautiful inside trip to score one of his many takedowns in that match,” said Clore. Kuenne pinned his opponent in an impressive time of 3:07, gaining six points for Big Red. Likewise, he pinned his opponents from Mercersburg, Hill, and Peddie in 1:26, 1:24, and 1:18 respectively, ending his day with four total wins out of four.

In another fantastic matchup between Lawrenceville and Blair, II Former Michael Brady ’20 wrestled a six-minute match against a very talented opponent. Despite getting put on his back multiple times, Brady pushed the pace of the match to the end, ultimately scoring a beautiful low single takedown. “It was great to see [Brady] tough it out against a better guy and then turn the tide at the end,” said Assistant Coach George Negroponte, “His opponent had grown tired and was probably not used to anyone staying with him for that long.” Although Brady lost by a major decision, he still finished the match in dominating position, “giving his opponent a heck of a fight for a full six minutes,” said Clore. Additionally, Brady overtook each of his other opponents, working hard to pin a Hill opponent in 4:53 and a Peddie wrestler in 5:03, then winning by a technical fall (16-0) against Mercersburg.

Over the past few weeks, Sam Hensler ’19, a new member to the team, has really stepped up, “showing not just hard work but also a relentless ‘never-say-die’ approach in each match to make him a key part of Big Red’s starting line-up,” said Clore. Hensler was able to come up big in three of his four matches, winning by forfeit against Hill, pinning a Peddie wrestler in 1:30, and really battling against a Mercersburg opponent to grasp victory by decision (7-5).

V Form Captains Arthur Benson ’17 and Owen Jones ’17 also set some great examples during their matches. Jones won three out of his four matches, winning by forfeit against Hill, pinning a Peddie opponent in an impressive 0:19, and coming on top by a major decision versus Mercersburg opponent (25-11).

While many matches during the MAPL tournament proved Big Red’s talent, there is still much for the team to work on as the season comes to a close. “As a team, we're trying to assert ourselves in competition,” said Clore, “Especially in a wrestling match, it's important to establish yourself as the ‘alpha,’ imposing your will over your opponent. Developing this mentality will continue to be a focus for the remainder of our season.”

Looking ahead, Big Red will host Peddie and George School on Wednesday next week as a good tune up before heading to the National Prep Qualifying Tournament at Blair. There, the team will compete against the best private school wrestlers from New York and New Jersey for entries into our culminating National Prep Tournament at Lehigh. Clore said, “I’m hopeful that multiple Lawrenceville wrestlers will qualify and then represent our team and our school on the national stage. We especially hope that we will have wrestlers who are able to place at the National Prep Tournament and earn the title of Prep All-Americans.”