By Steven Kimball
With rumors circulating about the elimination of boys’ gymnastics in favor of girls’
wrestling, Andover athletic director Don Doucette wanted to set one thing straight. He explained, “Girls’ wrestling will not replace boys’ gymnastics as a sport at the high school. Rather it was a decision made by the MIAA to eliminate boys’ gymnastics after they failed to receive funding from a national federation. Girls’ wrestling will not be a sport offered next year, rather there will be one less varsity sport offered.”
Although the MIAA had no choice in the matter, it doesn’t make the decision any easier on the talented gymnasts of Andover High School. One such affected gymnast is senior Austin Thiele, who is a four year member and a captain in his senior season. He remarked, “Gymnastics has helped me to gain self-confidence as a captain, it has helped me to acquire leadership abilities. Physically I have gained a lot of strength and feel I’m more in shape as a result.”
Despite the MIAA’s decision, Andover was able to win its first state title since 1970, with senior Brian Manning being the overall winner at the meet. It was an emotional time for the Warriors as they left Braintree High School, knowing their last meet as a squad was behind them. Junior captain Brian McDonough explained, “It was emotional but to finally have the state championship in our hands, it was worth the hard work.”
A police escort awaited the Warriors as they returned to Andover. Thiele explained that in that one moment his career as an athlete felt made.
As for the future of the program, McDonough remarked, “The program will either become a club or be adopted by the federation. If the federation were to adopt the sport we would still compete against other teams, just not at the state level.”
If you would like to help, McDonough explained that letters can be written to the MIAA to express the concerns of students.