Harwood sophomore Ethan Howes lifts a Middlebury wrestler on Friday, January 13. Howes won the match. Photo: Morgan Howes

By Morgan Howes

"The Essex Classic is a really tough tournament. It's great to see Harwood wrestlers showing up and wrestling hard each match. I’m looking forward to the second day," coach Casey Moulton said at the end of the first day of the Essex Classic wrestling tournament.

This tournament brings many in-state schools, as well as 10 schools from out of state. There were wrestlers from Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Massachusetts. So many wrestlers competed that the tournament stretched over two days. Friday, January 13, was the first day with the first half of the meet running from 5 to 9:30 p.m. On Saturday, January 14, the last half of the meet went from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. All the Harwood wrestlers fought hard.

Students in-state that are in the same weight class end up wrestling the same people every meet, though this builds a solid community and athletes learn along with their opponents – learning and beginning to anticipate each other’s tricks and favorite moves.

The Essex Classic is an opportunity for students, bringing them opponents they wouldn’t see the rest of the season. Students from other states may have had different training and different tactics than the wrestlers Harwood students have gone up against so far. This can make a very interesting match.

This year, freshman Sully O’Hara took fifth place at the tournament. Harwood hasn’t had a wrestler podium at Essex since 2013, when senior Kyle Streeter took first place in his weight class and went on to become state champion. This is a big achievement for Harwood and to have a freshman place is a sign that coach Moulton’s young wrestlers are becoming a team to watch.