Wrestling Impresses in MAPL Invitational

The Boys Varsity Wrestling team competed in the annual Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) Invitational this past Saturday.

The Boys Varsity Wrestling team competed in the annual Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) Invitational this past Saturday. In the Invitational, the team had a dual meet against each of the participating schools. Although Big Red lost to Mercersburg Academy by a score of 39-42 and Blair Academy 9-69 in the first half of the invitational, the team ended strong by winning over The Peddie School 60-18 and defeating The Hill School 54-27.

Coming into the day, the team faced challenges because several wrestlers were out of the lineup. However, key backup Drew Paglia ’22, who typically wrestles for the junior varsity team, stepped up and got his first varsity pin in the match against Hill, giving the team energy to build off of. “After [Paglia’s] match, the varsity court was so loud that I could barely hear myself. The team fed off each other’s energy, which led to [the team’s success],” Captain Alex Williard ’19 said. Several other wrestlers, including Jack Collins ’20 and Jacob Calderon ’21, moved to higher weight classes to substitute missing wrestlers. Despite the challenges, Big Red was successful.

In the first match of the Invitational, Big Red faced Mercersburg. After a close match, Mercersburg outscored Lawrenceville by a mere three points.

Lawrenceville then wrestled against Blair, which has won national prep team titles since 2015, making it the toughest opponent Big Red has faced all season. Brandon Agran ’20 and Nick Clark ’20 were the only wrestlers who won against Blair’s team.

Despite the loss against Blair, Big Red wrestlers got back on their feet. Williard, Agran, Clark, and Calderon won their matches against Peddie. Many of the other wrestlers took forfeits due to Peddie’s lack of wrestlers in certain weight classes.

Lawrenceville concluded the day with a victory over Hill. Clark, Williard, Agran, Calderon, Brandon Li ’19, Akash Iyer ’20, CJ Vilfort ’20, and Paglia won against Hill wrestlers and secured the Big Red’s success. After Lawrenceville’s victory against Hill, Big Red kept “The Britches”—a pair of half-red and half blue pants given to the winner of the Hill-Lawrenceville wrestling match for the second consecutive season.

Head Coach Johnny Clore H’02 said, “The team could come out on top because everyone [acted upon] the team’s philosophy: ‘No matter who’s out there against you, go out there and give him a fight.’” Williard said, “[The invitational] went well because every wrestler was excited and fed off each other.”

Lawrenceville wrestling team is looking forward to multiple important matches, including National Prep Qualifiers and National Prep Wrestling Championships, which will take place at the Lehigh University on Friday, February 22. As they near the end of the season, Clore said, “The team has to maintain their focus. They have to think about what their goals are and remember all the works they have put so far.”