March 5, 2019 — NMH varsity wrestling was on a roll again this year, finishing the season with an 18-2 record, two new All-Americans, team titles, and multiple individual champions at the Class A and New England Championships. At season’s end, NMH wrestling was ranked in the top 20 nationally.
“Our team had a fantastic season and we are very proud of the individual championships and team titles that we earned this year,” says Zack Bates, head coach. “However, winning is not how we choose to define success on our team. I am very proud of how hard our athletes worked, how much much they improved, how they supported each other, and how they responded to adversity. Of course, it’s nice when all of that leads to success on the mat.”
NMH competes in the New England Independent School Wrestling Association’s Class A league, regarded as New England’s toughest prep league. At the Class A Championships, NMH wrestlers earned eight individual champion titles, and 13 qualified for the New England Championships.
Katie Gatza ’20 was crowned champion of the New England tournament’s female division. “Wrestling with NMH has allowed me to increase my dexterity and broaden my ability in my sport in a way that I could never have done at home,” she says. “Although I did well in my first season here, I have so much more to learn from the commendable coaching staff.”
NMH boys tied for first place at the New Englands, with eight individual placers: three champions (Aiden Hanning ’21, Jake Shaifer ’21, and Harvard commit Yaraslau Slavikouski ’19), two runners-up, two third-placers, and one fourth-placer.
At the National Prep tournament, the team fought hard and ended the season in the top 20. Noah Burstein ’19 (captain) and Aiden Hanning ’21 were named All-Americans. Burstein ended his final NMH season with a 42-10 record. Earlier this year, he joined the “century club” with an all-time record of 139-34. Hanning set a school record for most wins in a season (46) and placed fourth at nationals.
“Winning team titles at both the Class A Championships and New England Championships was something that I was extremely proud to be a part of,” says Burstein. And becoming an All-American had been a dream since Burstein’s first NMH wrestling clinic when he was 7. “Hearing the ref count down the last five seconds of the match and knowing that I had finally achieved that dream will stick with me for a very long time.”
Looking ahead, a record number of JV athletes gained experience that should let them compete at the next level. Seven of them placed at the Futures New England tournament.
The team is also experiencing unprecedented growth in female wrestlers, with 11 females joining the team. Led by Gatza, this group won their title at the annual Andover Women's Tournament.