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.”
The two champs had plenty of help from their teammates in rolling to the title. Overall, 10 Brooks wrestlers placed, led by 126-pounder David Crosby at 126 and 145-pound freshman Nick Konovalchik, both of North Andover.
Crosby placed second behind tournament Outstanding Wrestler Stephen Thibault of Avon and Nick came in third, recording a resounding third in the consolation finals to place two spots higher than his brother had as a freshman.
“Good for him, I’m happy for him,” said Andrew. “He worked hard for it.”
Placing fourth were two other North Andover products, Jake Gottfried at 182 and Geoff Fulgione at 195, both of whom lost heartbreakers in the consolation finals. Gottfried dropped a 2-1 decision and Fulgione fell victim to a last second takedown to fall 3-1.
Finishing fifth for Brooks was Andre Bolte at 138 while Tom Caron was sixth at 113. North Andover’s Owen Rosenberger (220) and heavyweight Tommy Connelly put an exclamation on the day with pins for seventh place.
For Phillips, Christian Vallis was runner-up at 132, falling 4-2 in a fiercely-fought finals to rugged John Anderson of Tabor Academy, while James Palmer came in seventh at 170.
Pedro caps super year
Phillips Exeter freshman A.J. Pedro of Methuen was impressive indeed while dominating Concord Academy’s Zach Bloom with a 9-0 major decision in the 152-pound finals.
That capped a 22-0 season in New England and gives him a 26-2 overall mark, his only two setbacks coming in the Beast of the East national tournament in Delaware.
“There was a lot of pressure coming in as a freshman but I didn’t expect anything less than this,” said Pedro, the son of Olympic judo medalist Jimmy Pedro. “I go into every match with the confidence that I’m going to win.”
Pedro wasn’t the only local wrestler to win a title yesterday. Tabor’s Amir Daouk, a sophomore from Londonderry, took a 6-0 decision in the finals to win the 106-pound crown.
Also, Tabor’s Jack Reilly of Andover placed fifth at 145.
Most of yesterday’s standouts will wrestle next weekend in the Prep nationals at Lehigh University.
New England Prep Tournament
Top 10 team scores (46 teams): 1. Brooks 182, 2. Exeter 144, 3. Tabor 115 1/2, 4. Loomis 115, 5. Belmont Hill 109, 6. Choate 77 1/2, 7. Suffield Academy 77, 8. Hotchkiss 77, 9. Phillips Academy 75, 10. St. Paul’s 66 1/2
Winners and local placers:
106: 1. Amir Daouk (Tabor/Londonderry), 7. Bennett Sherr (PA); 113: 1. Brandon Caffrey (Pomfret), 6. Tom Caron (Brooks); 120: 1. Joe Rossetti (Hotchkiss); 126: 1. Stephen Thibault (Avon), 2. David Crosby (Brooks); 132: 1. John Anderson (Tabor), 2. Christian Vallis (PA); 138: 1. Peter Tedesco (Belmont Hill), 5. Andre Bolte (Brooks); 145: 1. Aidan Conroy (NMH), 3. Nick Konovalchik (Brooks), 5. Jack Reilly (Tabor/Andover);
152: 1. A.J. Pedro (Phillips Exeter/Methuen); 160: 1. Andrew Konovalchik (Brooks); 170: 1. Nate Gibeley (Brooks), 4. James Palmer (PA); 182: 1. Isaiah Billamy (Lawrence Academy), 4. Jake Gottfried (Brooks); 195: 1. Angus Cowell (Loomis), 4. Geoff Fulgione (Brooks); 220: 1. Ryan Kelley (Belmont Hill), 4. Matt Simon (PA), 7. Owen Rosenberger (Brooks); HVY: 1. Steve Hart (Phillips Exeter), 5. Dan McGurl (PA), 7. Tom Connelly (Brooks)