Head Coach Kassie Archambault ’06 participated in Andover Wrestling throughout all four years of her time as an Andover student. According to Co-Captain Marisol Nugent ’20, one of Archambault’s best qualities as a coach is her willingness to look out for the health and wellbeing of her athletes.
Nugent said, “My favorite thing about Kassie is just how personable she is and how much she interacts with her athletes off the mat. She is always checking in on us about our health and schoolwork, just talking to our teachers to see how we’re doing. When I tore my ACL, she was always checking in on me even though I wasn’t an athlete competing on the team… She was always invested even when she didn’t have to be. That relationship and investment to the team is so important in a coach.”
What has been your path to becoming a wrestling coach?
I joined the Andover Wrestling team when I was a [Junior]. I had had no experience wrestling before. Growing up, I had done dance and gymnastics, and as you know, we always have to do a sport this term here and there was no gymnastics team here so I thought well, the wrestling team is cool. I could give that a try. I had always roughhoused at home with my brother, so I thought wrestling would give me the advantage there, and then I absolutely fell in love with it. I loved the sport. I loved the team. I loved the support from the coaches and my teammates, and so I wrestled for four years here, and as soon as I came back to Andover to teach, eight years ago, I joined the coaching staff with the wrestling team. It’s always fun to coach a sport that you love and be part of a team that meant so much to you when you were a student.
What do you feel is your most important role as a coach?
I’d say there’s a number of things. There’s, of course, teaching technique so the refs know what to do whenever they get into a certain situation in a match. Wrestling is a really challenging sport, and I think not everyone decides to put themselves through those challenges, so it’s just supporting the athletes in general, helping them listen to their bodies and figure out the difference between being hurt and sore. You get sore a lot in wrestling, so just supporting them, their physical wellbeing, their mental wellbeing, and their emotional wellbeing during a match [is important]. It would [also] be coaching them through different scenarios, [and] making game-time decisions about who to put out on the mat in different classes. I think there’s a lot of different aspects of coaching, but first and foremost the health and wellbeing of my athletes come first.
What has been your main focus of this season?
Our main focus of the season has been staying in a good position, or if your opponent gets you out of position, how to get back into a good scoring position. That’s from all three positions, whether you’re on your feet, on top, or on bottom, always wanting to stay in a good position will enable you to score.
What are your aspirations for the team moving towards the end of the season?
Now we’re in what we call the postseason tournaments. The dual meets are done. We don’t have anymore one-on-one competitions with specific teams, so we ended our dual meet record 10-5 which is a big improvement for us. Now, at the tournaments if you place within a certain margin… then you qualify for the next tournament. We had eight wrestlers qualify for the next tournament, which will be in two weekends for the New England Championships. Now any wrestlers that place top six there will qualify for Nationals, so it’s really just helping our athletes get prepared for those tournaments and helping them place top-six so that they can qualify for the next tournament.