EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


February 16, 2014

Championship script

Brooks captures first-ever New England Prep crown

NORTH ANDOVER — Meet Alex Konovalchik, script writer.

The Brooks School wrestling coach had outlined the scene for years and, with only a little deviation, the script went just as he outlined, and maybe even better.

“I was definitely hoping for this,” said Konovalchik yesterday after host Brooks won the New England Prep wrestling championship. “This is the finest moment I’ve had in 21 years associated with Brooks wrestling.

“To do it with my two sons on the team at home is just what I was hoping would happen, really the way I planned it.”

Brooks, led by seniors Andrew Konovalchik and Nate Gibeley, who won individual crowns at 160 and 170, rolled to first with 182 points, comfortably ahead of runner-up Phillips Exeter (144). Phillips Academy finished ninth.

The title was the first for Brooks in the 65 years of the tournament. It placed second twice, most recently in 2007.

Andrew Konovalchik was dominant for the second straight week, taking pins in :57, 1:40 and :46 before winning the crown by injury default. Last week, while winning the Independent School League crown, he pinned every opponent in the first period as well.

“It felt good to roll through the tournament, but I would have liked one more match,” said Andrew, a defending New England champ. “But winning as a team is the best thing — the first time Brooks has ever done it.”

The title was even more gratifying for Gibeley, a senior from Boxford who defeated Hyde School post-graduate Jared Jensen 8-4 in the finals. He missed last year’s New England meet with an injury.

“That was really tough because I thought I could have won it last year,” said Gibeley, who is headed to the Naval Academy. “But I stand on the podium a stronger man now because of it.

“Doing it here, the first time in history for Brooks, makes it even better. Being a co-captain with Andrew, I’m just so happy to help make history.”

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