After attending summer session prior to entering his Lower year at Andover, Ellerman Mateo ’21 found himself inspired by Coach Carl Sangree to join both Boys Cross Country and Wrestling. Although it is early in the season, Mateo has already exceeded expectations of a novice wrestler, according to Co-Captain Eamon Garrity-Rokous ’20.
Garrity-Rokous said, “He’s giving every single workout everything he’s got. I think as a wrestler, that is one of his biggest strengths. Having that much heart and dedication and being that much willing to grind, it is impressive and honestly even as a Lower he leads by example… I think that he is one of the best additions—as a new wrestler—that we have had on the team.”
Garrity-Rokous continued, “I think he deserves [The Phillipian Athlete of the Week] because he is easily the hardest worker, easily one of the most passionate [wrestlers] already even though he has only been doing it for a month by now. He is definitely one of the most inspiring wrestlers. He is always someone we call out and say ‘look at Ellerman, he’s leading by example. We should follow him.’ He is being a leader on the team even as a Lower right now. I think that is very inspiring and very impressive. I have a lot of respect for him because of that.”
What is your favorite part of wrestling?
In practice I really love it when we do live wrestling, but ultimately I’ve only wrestled three matches. I’ve lost two [and] won one. In my first match, I won in 22 seconds, so I was really excited [to] hear the referee slap the hand on the mat whenever you get a pin. I love that feeling.
What is the most challenging aspect of wrestling?
It’s definitely the technique. We do drills, but I always kind of do something wrong and can’t really get it right. Position-wise, whenever I start on bottom I always get tossed around and [am] not really good at escaping. We definitely do drills for that, but it takes a lot of practice to get good at it. I just started, so that’s one of the reasons why I’m not up there right now.
What is your pregame ritual?
I just kind of really love to listen to inspirational videos on YouTube and listen to songs that I know really hype me up. I try to clear my mind… so I can focus and calm myself down. Otherwise I become anxious or too excited, so I always try to not think about the matches until the day of, and that’s when I know it’s time to focus. It’s time to be calm. It’s time to have a game plan whenever I wrestle.
If you were a superhero, what superhero would you be and why?
Definitely Superman. I love Superman. I’m just a fan of him… He’s so powerful, and I just wish I could be that powerful.
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a wrestler?
Strengths, definitely cardio. Weaknesses, definitely technique, and I’m just afraid of getting people hurt… I kind of had to be careful of my roughness [with] other kids when I wrestle. We wrestle with people in our weight class, even though I’m a bit stronger than most people in my weight class. There’s not that [many] people below 130 [pounds], so the people I do wrestle [I] have to be careful with. Also, whenever we do drills, I [often] wrestle more experienced guys. They get me in certain moves, and I don’t know what to do. I just sit there and kind of panic because I don’t know what to do because I’ve never encountered this certain move.
When you’re feeling down how do you pick yourself back up again?
I always try to be optimistic. I always think back. I watch a lot of motivational videos and just sit there and think about how I got here. I think about other people who may be trying to get into Andover. If they want to get in, I may need to step it up and remind myself why I came here. Definitely, I look back to my [previous] high school. There’s no way I want to go back there, so I have to stay focused and make sure I do the best here.
What is your favorite wrestling move and why?
One of the better moves I am good at is doing half-nelsons because I love to grab people. If I do have the chance, then probably a stack. It’s a combination of a half-nelson and an arm-bar. It really puts [the opponent] in a lot of agony. Whenever they feel that pain, they’re not really motivated and they become discouraged; they begin to panic because it’s such a powerful move. The stack you have to time it right. You have to see the opportunity, but once you do get it, whenever people would see the opponent being stacked upon, you’d go like, ‘[Gosh], that wrestler just totally destroyed that guy.’
Editor’s Note: Gigi Glover is an Associate Sports Editor for The Phillipian.