A Post-Graduate (PG) from Reading, Mass., John O’Brien ’17 has posted a 10-1 record for Andover Wrestling after five years of competing in the sport.
Despite stepping onto a mat for the first time in his freshman year at St. John’s Prep, O’Brien has managed to rise to the rank of number three in New England Prep this year. O’Brien came to Andover as both a wrestler and a football player.
Lacking any club team experience, O’Brien competed for St. John’s Prep during his freshman and sophomore years. Later, he moved to Reading High School for his junior and senior seasons, before arriving at Andover for a PG year.
Despite his many transitions, O’Brien said, “Wrestling is the same wherever you go. The coaches here are better than Reading. They know what they’re talking about, which is good.”
O’Brien enjoys being a part of Andover’s winning wrestling program. He said, “The team is pretty good. We went 2-20 at Reading as a team. It’s nice to be on a winning team with a great culture.”
Before Andover, O’Brien wrestled in the 220-pounds weight class. Here, however, he’s been wrestling in the heavyweight class at 285-pounds. O’Brien was reluctant to cut to a lower weight class of 231-pounds because he does not think he could handle cutting at Andover.
O’Brien said, “You just can’t cut with the workload.”
Describing one of his cutting experiences, O’Brien continued, “The hardest part about [cutting] is running and doing it. When I cut at Reading, it was kind of funny, I had to cut 11 pounds in one night. I started working out at three. Then, I went to practice at five, wrestled for two hours, then I had to go back to the gym. Cutting has always been an interesting experience, you never know what you’re going to have to go through. The hardest part is keeping yourself working out, when you haven’t eaten fully for a couple days and all you’ve had is water.”
Coach Gorham wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “John has been a great addition to our team this year. His athleticism helps him in matches against larger heavyweights. In the room he has displayed a good work ethic and toughness.”
Gorham believes that O’Brien can compete for the New England Prep Championship title and potentially make an impressive run.
Gorham said, “[O’Brien’s] only loss was a close match to the returning New England champion.”
O’Brien will continue his season, working hard alongside his team, with hopes of championship success.