A two-year Captain and a three-year Varsity starter, Co-Captain Pablo Sanchez ’19 has emerged as a leader who shows empathy and interest in each member of Andover Wrestling, according to Head Coach Rich Gorham in an email to The Phillipian.
Gorham wrote, “He lives our team’s core values every day: inclusion, hard work, and team concept. This fall he also completed a CAMD project, acted in a play, and played varsity football. He is the embodiment of an Andover scholar-athlete.”
Last year, Sanchez qualified for the National Prep tournament, where he won two matches. Sanchez said that he was amazed by the level of competition at the national level.
Sanchez wrote in an email to The Phillipian, “Wrestling on the national scene is an entirely different deal than wrestling at [Andover]. When I went to National Preps last year I was shocked by the talent level. On the National stage, there are no easy matches and every wrestler is truly worthy of competition on that stage. When you have that kind of competition you either get crushed by the pressure of it or you bring your wrestling to a whole new level.”
As Captain, Sanchez works to set a standard and be a positive example for the rest of his teammates.
“I think my ultimate and most important role as captain is to be the standard for the rest of the team to follow. If I’m not working as hard as I can for the entire practice then how can I ask my team to do so? I try to practice what I preach so whenever I talk to the team I’m really conscious of backing up my words and really being that role model for everyone. Of course, the flip side of that is being a supportive member of the team and being approachable enough that both four-year veterans and newcomers can talk with me about what’s going on both on and off the mat.” Sanchez wrote.
Before and after every practice, Sanchez speaks to the team with words of encouragement, according to Gorham.
“At Andover Wrestling, captains begin and end every practice. Co-Captains Pablo Sanchez and Eamon Garrity-Rokous [’20] lead the warm up, and the cool down, and give the team a motivational speech each day.” Gorham wrote.
During these pep talks to the team, Sanchez speaks about the importance of focus, according to Garrity-Rokous.
“Pablo always encourages everyone to make sure that they are as focused off the mat as they are on the mat. He reminds all of us to stay focused on our goals and to have the right work ethic in all realms of life. He does the same through his actions throughout practice as well. He leads by example through the amount of work, sweat, and dedication he puts into his wrestling,” wrote Garrity-Rokous in an email the The Phillipian.
Sanchez also looks to be both a mentor and a confidant to his players.
Sanchez wrote, “I want my teammates to see me as someone who practices what he preaches and as someone who can be confided in. Being the only Senior captain, sometimes I’m a little more vocal when I don’t think the energy in the room is where it needs to be and I hope the team understands I’m only so vocal because I want the absolute best for everyone on the team.”
“Prior to coming to [Andover] I had never wrestled a day in my life. I had boxed for four years but I never stepped on a mat, even though it was always something that really caught my interest. I think that gives me an edge when it comes to being captain because I can still remember being new to the sport and not having any idea what I should be doing,” wrote Sanchez.
After almost four years of wrestling at Andover, Sanchez says he has learned so much about both the sport and himself.
Sanchez wrote, “Andover has helped me mature as a person more than anything. The problem solving skills you learn here help prepare you for anything that comes your way and personally for me being so far away from home (almost 3,000 miles) really opened my mind up to so many different things that I feel like can I adapt to anything. This adaptability is crucial for a leader as you never know what’s going to happen at any given time.”
Sanchez credits Coach Gorham for a great portion of his development as a person and as an athlete.
Sanchez wrote, “Andover Wrestling has given me so much, I don’t even know where to begin. Firstly it connected me with one of the best mentors I’ve ever had in Coach Gorham. I have had a lot of coaches in my life but none possess the genuine concern and empathy for his athletes like Coach Gorham. I truly can not even attempt to verbalize what he has given me in the last four years.”
According to Garrity-Rokous, Sanchez has much to look forward to as he finishes his last season at Andover and advances to compete at the college level next year.
Garrity-Rokous wrote, “My hopes for Pablo this season are for him to not only be the best leader and Co-Captain on this team, but for him to be the best wrestler that he can be as well. My hope for Pablo is that he will be a New England Champ and National Prep All-American by the end of the season. Likewise, my hope for him after he graduates is that he will continue to be a phenomenally hard working, successful wrestler at Wesleyan University Wrestling.”