Led this season by co-captains Nate Hefner '19, Kyle Aanstoots '19, and Ray Fluet '20, Big Blue has its sights set on a conference win.
Capping off a tremendous season, in which he became Pingry's first county champion in more than a decade, not to mention the School's first individual District champion in 15 years, Brandon Spellman '19 celebrates a successful run in the coveted State Tournament in Atlantic City last weekend. The junior placed in the top 12 in his weight class by winning three matches, and was just one match shy of placing in the top eight.
As Head Coach George Sullivan reports, in his first-round match, he avenged a loss from the Regional semifinals against a great opponent, before losing to the #2 seed in the tournament. Entering the consolation rounds, Brandon needed three wins to place in the top eight. He earned two of these wins through grueling performances and came up just short in his last bout in the "blood round," which determines whether wrestlers will place in the tournament. It was a historic performance, as no Pingry wrestler since Zach Shanaman '04 has earned such success. Brandon also follows in the footsteps of Frankie Dillon '17, who was Pingry's first wrestler since 2005 to compete at the State Tournament last year.
After losing in the first round of the Regional Tournament last year, Brandon was hungry to improve. And improve he did.
"Every single wrestler who advances to the State tournament is a great wrestler, which means there are no easy matches and wins are extremely hard to come by," says Coach Sullivan. "Each of the wrestlers against whom Brandon competed is an outstanding athlete and competitor, but Brandon emerged victorious nonetheless. This speaks to the way Brandon prepared his mind and body for this tournament, working to build endurance, resilience, and toughness into both his mindset and his physique."
He adds, "If he reproduces the dedication and growth he earned this past off-season, I have no doubt that a spot high on the podium at States is in his future."
Contact: Andrea Dawson, Senior Writer, firstname.lastname@example.org