Wrestling coaches from 44 different teams recently declared Kassie Archambault ’06 Assistant Coach of the Year. Archambault, who has been coaching at Andover for the past seven years, received the award at the 2019 New England Independent Schools Wrestling Association tournament on February 16.
According to Archambault, receiving this accolade was a humbling experience and a step towards recognizing the legitimacy and talent of female wrestlers. When she was a student at Andover, Archambault was the first female wrestler to ever place at Interschols.
Archambault said, “I believe including more women in the sport is going to save our sport. I know women are the future of wrestling and women’s wrestling is the fastest growing sport in the United States. It is still recognized as a developing sport by the NCAA, [and this award] is an acknowledgment of the work that I’ve done to try to grow women’s wrestling. It was a sign of solidarity and support for women in our schools that have tried this competitive and challenging sport in a male-dominated field.”
As a coach, Archambault empowers and supports her female wrestlers with unfailing faith, according Marisol Nugent ’20 and Armour Ellis ’22.
Ellis said, “When I first started wrestling, I thought I would only wrestle girls and that I wouldn’t be as strong as other guys, but I learned from Coach [Archambault] that there are moves that we can do and learn to overcome any adversity that we have.”
Nugent said, “She has taught me to never give up on anything because she always believes in me. She is the first person to wish me luck before a match, the first person to try and pick me up when I am down, and no matter what always lets me know that she is proud of me. She has taught me that in this rollercoaster of a sport your support system is the most important thing you can find. She has been with me for two years but the knowledge in wrestling and in life she has given me is inexplicable.”
On the mat, Archambault adjusts her coaching style to fit each wrestlers individual needs. She also balances a positive approach while also holding her wrestlers accountable, according to Sarah Stack ’19
“She’s a very hands-on coach. She’s willing to demonstrate different moves on different wrestlers, so she really shows you moves physically and not just verbally. She’s a good combination of being supportive but also telling you if you need to make a change and making that happen. She saves her feedback for really important times in the match, so she’s supportive but she’s also very clear with telling you what to do in order to pin or take down your opponent,” said Stack.
According to Head Coach Richard Gorham, Archambault has developed into a devoted pioneer for the growth of girls’ wrestling.
In an email to The Phillipian, Gorham wrote, “Coaching with [Archambault] is special because she brings an energy and enthusiasm to every practice that keeps the team upbeat. She has been tenacious in her support for the expansion of girl’s wrestling. I have worked with Coach [Archambault] since she came out for the sport as a Junior in 2002, and seeing her develop first as a wrestler, and then as a coach, has been a joy.
Archambault hopes that all wrestlers, no matter who they are, can walk away from the season knowing that they are wanted and valued on the team.
Archambault said, “This year we really developed some team values and one of them is inclusion. No matter who you are, or what your background is, or your experience with wrestling, if you are willing to come out and work hard we want you to be a part of the team.”