Athlete Of The Week: Leon Fay ’04

The tired wrestler gulped down water, his knees weak and his eyes strained. Twice already he had entered into battle, winning both times. He looked for the strength to do it, just once more. The official called the match and he went for it. Just another notch in his belt. Leon Fay ’04 with a fantastic 3-0 day of wrestling on Saturday is the Athlete of the Week. Fay is the wrestling squad’s captain despite being just an Upper. Even more incredible is that it was just two years ago that he started his career since he started attending Andover. Fay’s athletic background however, made wrestling an easy choice once he came here. “I started wrestling because it was the closest thing to Judo, which I could no longer do since it was not offered at PA. I had done Judo (which is a Japanese form of martial arts quite similar to wrestling, except with more emphasis on throwing) for three years before [coming to PA].” Fay’s wrestling idol is a noteworthy Andover alum and perhaps the most highly decorated grappler in Big Blue history. “I guess my model of excellence would be our previous captain, “Schvarts”. He worked harder at wrestling than anyone, and achieved great things because of his dedication. I think he is the wrestling ideal.” Fay’s wrestling style is one of guts and speed. Andrew McGowan ’05, himself an accomplished wrestler, said of Fay, “Leon is a quick kid. He goes out there, and starts dancing around like his feet are on fire. Then, BAM and the opponent is on his back.” John Dugan ’92, who coached Fay last year remembered one of the last matches of the season. “[The match] came down to the point that Leon needed to pin his man to win the match for the team. Leon could have played it safe and been in a very close match with the kid from Loomis (one of the other team’s best wrestlers), but of course he went out and went for the pin to try to get the team victory. “Leon took chances that he would not normally, under normal circumstances. He was the last guy out there on the mat and took a chance to try to get a team win. He ended up losing the match by getting pinned, but he held nothing back. He threw every move he knew in an attempt to score a big victory. In the end he was unable to pull it off, but not for lack of a great effort.” Fay recalled his greatest victory, one at NMH last year. “My weight, 130 lbs, was picked to go first, so I would start off the duel meet, adding some pressure to the situation. I started the match on a negative note, losing points early on. However, at some point during the bout I had mentally decided that I could win and that I would do everything in my power to do so. Overcoming my initial disadvantage, I was narrowly able to win. When the official raised my arm, I felt like all my work in practice had paid off. Moments like that are really what make wrestling great.” Fay feels comfortable in his role as captain. “Since Dan [Schvartsman ’02] had set the precedent of being an upper captain two years ago, my position is not totally unheard of. I try to include the upperclassmen in leading the team as much as possible, so they really share the responsibility and leadership with me. Everyone on the team has been extremely supportive, so I really don’t find my situation awkward.” So far the wrestling team has had a solid start so far, with a record of eight wins, five losses and one tie. In last Saturday’s meet at Milton, Fay was one of three PA wrestlers to win all three matches. This captain serves his team well in their quest for wrestling supremacy in the Class A league.