Athlete Of The Week

The crowd standing in the crowd began to chant “Hector, Hector” as Co-Captain Hector Cintron ’08 closed out his 10-9 win in the finals at Interschols. The 171-pound champion wrestler competed in his final Class A Interschols and took home the title of Champion as well as Outstanding Wrestler. Cintron was one of three first-place finishers for Andover on Saturday. Seeded number one at 171 lbs., Cintron cruised his way to the finals, pinning all of his opponents. As expected, he matched up with Ryan Roddy, an NMH post-graduate in the finals. The finals proved to be much tougher than the previous rounds. Leading 10-9, Hector was forced to control his opponent for the last minute. If Roddy had been able to escape, he would’ve earned the tying point in the match, which in Cintron’s words was “not favorable.” Time went out and the buzzer sounded, but the officials said that 21 seconds needed to be put back on the clock. Impressively, Cintron, stayed focused and finished out the match, earning the win. When asked what pushed to him to continue to wrestle hard, after he thought the match was over, Cintron said, “Mental and physical strength came into play… Also the crowd chanting really helped keep the adrenaline pumping.” Winning his weight class at Interschols was an end to a season that has been more difficult than most. Being hampered by injuries and pressure from applying to college, and the wear and tear of the life of a wrestler in general, has made Cintron “more mentally tired than usual.” “Mentally, it is hard to keep my mind straight, because at tournaments there is a lot of waiting. Sometimes I just want to go out there and wrestle to get it over with, but I have learned to enjoy the ride more. After all, that’s why I started the sport in the first place.” In addition to maintaining his outstanding fitness level, Cintron has worked all year to find ways to make the team successful, while keeping an enjoyable team atmosphere. This style is clear to his teammates. Duncan Crystal ’10, a teammate of Cintron’s for two years, sees the intensity and the playful side of Cintron. “Every day, when we walk into the room, he’s happy. But at the same time, he makes it clear that we have work to do … He works hard all the time.” Cintron has developed into a widely recognized and respected wrestler in the 171 lb weight class over his four years at Andover. Cintron remarks that the transition from year to year has been immense, all leading to the present-day success he brings home for Andover. The co-captain described his first few years on the team by saying, “When I was a Junior it was all about being tough and proving myself. I did not settle in much my Lower year.” Cintron continued, “In fact, I was very frantic and worried about my matches, always worrying too much about the other guy instead of focusing on what I needed to do to come out victorious.” Cintron commented that his 11th- and 12th-grade seasons have completely changed how he is as a wrestler. “As an Upper, I became quick on my feet and focused and really realized that I had a special talent in the sport.” However, Cintron became most serious about the sport his Senior year. “This past season, I have finally learned to calm down and to let things happen as they should in a match.” Cintron’s transformation into an elite wrestler has not only affected his own status as a New England prep wrestler, but has also helped to establish a prestigious program at Andover. Over the past two years, Cintron’s work ethic has made him not only a top performer on the squad, but a great leader as well. Many teammates consistently expressed how Cintron’s work ethic is a leadership quality in and of itself. Although the common misconception of a Captain is one who is more of an inspirational speaker, Cintron assumes the position as an extraordinary leader by example. Because of his impossible-to-teach work ethic over the past few years, Cintron has surely preserved the excellence of Andover’s wrestling program for many years to come. This work ethic has led Hector to not only a victory at Interschols, but also the title of “Outstanding Wrestler.” In his words, the title was just “icing on the cake.”