Growing up as a hockey player, Andover Wrestling Co-Captain Eamon Garrity-Rokous ’20 decided to try wrestling in sixth grade, fueled by encouragement from his brothers and parents.
Garrity-Rokous said, “I’d say a big part of my life now revolves around wrestling and is centered on wrestling. It’s what I think about a lot of the day. It’s what I spend a lot of my time during the week doing. I’ve spent many hours a day on average doing it. I think just a lot of my life for the last seven years has been [dedicated to] wrestling, so wrestling’s been a part of me.”
According to Garrity-Rokous, many skills that he picked up in hockey translated well into wrestling.
“It helped with balance, having a low center of gravity, hand eye coordination, killer instinct, being willing to take a hit, toughness, sportsmanship, coachability,” said Garrity-Rokous.
One of the highlights of being a part of the wrestling team, according to Garrity-Rokous, is the unity of the team despite the individuality of the sport.
“The favorite part would be the sort of family, the brotherhood, the camaraderie that comes along with it. I think a wrestling team can really come together. Even though it’s an individual sport, in the end it really builds a team feeling,” said Garrity-Rokous.
Garrity-Rokous lead the team by achieving a balance between working hard and having fun.
Garrity-Rokous said, “[One of my goals is] to give the sport more of a light atmosphere. Make sure everyone’s having fun, enjoying the team, enjoying the sport and that no matter what, everyone’s pushing it during practice and everyone’s pushing it at every match. And that we go out there to win, but at the same time we go out there to have fun.”
According to Jack O’Neil ’19, Garrity-Rokous has been very successful in making sure every member of the team enjoys wrestling.
“Eamon’s balance of a friendly, easy-going personality and a dedicated and driven personality create a unique dynamic on our team. As a result, the team knows when it’s time to focus and work hard, while still finding the joy in the sport,” said O’Neil.
Garrity-Rokous also makes sure to help out his teammates with anything, whether wrestling-related or not, according to Marisol Nugent ’20.
“He was in my Chemistry class last year, and he always helped me regardless of the situation with all my classes. And then we would show up to wrestling and he would help me with wrestling. So he’s just very quick to extend a helping hand,” said Nugent.
According to O’Neil, Garrity-Rokous’ teammates respect how much time and effort he has put into improving his wrestling ability.
O’Neil said, “Eamon’s skills as a wrestler are an invaluable asset to the success of the team. He’s been wrestling longer than anyone on the team and with that comes a greater understanding of the sport. Both the new wrestlers and the team returners learn something from Eamon every day… Eamon’s greatest strength is definitely his dedication to the sport. He’s always staying late after practice to drill more moves and it really does show in his matches.”
As for wrestling itself, Garrity-Rokous says he enjoys the grind of the sport and how much work goes into being successful.
“[I enjoy] how difficult it is, how much you have to push yourself, how much you have to be tough, how much you have to learn, how much you have to drill. Basically it’s a sport that forces you to grow, and I like that about it. I like how tough it is and how much you have to push yourself,” said Garrity-Rokous.
Garrity-Rokous has many people in his life that have inspired him to become the best wrestler he can be.
“Jordan Burroughs, Olympic Gold Medalist, multiple world champion. Kyle Snyder, probably would be another. He’s also an Olympic Gold Medalist, world champion. He wrestled for Ohio State University, which is right near where I live. Probably a lot of my coaches like Coach [Jason] York. He’s one of the Andover wrestling coaches. There’s a club I go to in Lowell, Mass. The coaches there inspire me. My coach back home in Ohio inspires me. A lot of the coaches I’ve had and a lot of my teammates like Pierce Bausano [’18] last year. All those guys [have inspired me],” said Garrity-Rokous.
According to Garrity-Rokous, his goal for the rest of the season is to become a National Prep All-American. He is working towards big long-term goals as well, however, according to Nugent.
Nugent said, “You can tell what he’s working towards a bigger goal. It’s not just Class-A’s, it’s not just Prep New Englands. He’s going for the big thing.”