By Mitch Silver

Capping a hugely successful season for Rye Country Day’s wrestlers, Hannes Boehning finished eighth in the country in the 220-pound weight class at the National Prep Championships held at Lehigh University last weekend. His Elite Eight effort earned Boehning All-American status in his third try at Nationals, and made him the second Wildcat so honored (Obinna Nwakeze was seventh in the Heavyweight class in 2010).

Fellow wrestler Max Mandell also qualified for Nationals at 145 pounds, and he pinned Jack Cassidy of St. Johns College Prep (Washington, D.C.) before bowing out of the competition.

Boehning wrestled five times that first day, winning his opening bout by a pin before losing a decision to 10th seed Parker Robinson of McDonough (Md.), 3-1, in the round of 16. This sent Hannes into the consolation bracket, where he needed to win three straight matches to make it back to the top eight. Head Coach Rich Knazik tweeted, “This is very tough to do, but that he did!”  

Pinning both Ethan Sypes of Bullis (Md.) and Maine’s Daric Johnson, the New England runner-up, Boehning still had to defeat Dymir Davis-Carruth of the Hill School (Pa.), a returning All-American who finished fourth a year ago. With Knazik and fellow Wildcats coach Hidalgo Nagashima prowling the sidelines, Boehning was up 1-0 going into the final period.

Here’s how Coach Knazik called it: “The match was very close and nerve-racking. Dymir tied it up with an escape and almost took down Hannes multiple times, but his defense was good. Hannes scored a takedown with a high single leg to go up 3-1, but then he got a stall warning. Dymir scored an escape to close the gap 3-2 and really came after Hannes, who stopped all attacks and did not back up. Finally, the match ended in a 3-2 thriller win. My hands are shaking as I am typing this!”

The next day, Boehning lost a 2-0 decision to Colin Lawler of Kincade (Tx.), which moved him to the 7th place final. After a very long wait he faced George Hooker of Father Ryan School (Tn.), giving up an escape with no time left to drop a very tight 3-2 decision.

The Wildcats had posted an 8-1 record before the post-season started. Boehning and Richard Antoine (287 pounds) won NYSAIS championships, though Antoine came down with the flu, preventing him from competing in the qualifying meet that sent Boehning and Mandell to Nationals.

In the final meet of the year, Rye Country Day finished 35th out of 108 teams, which isn’t too bad for only two qualifiers.