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Junior Charlie Andrus has wrestled his way to a 21-4 record in his first year of varsity competition with the Indians. (Photo courtesy of Charlie Andrus )
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As the Guilford wrestling squad enters the home stretch of its season, Charlie Andrus is looking like a strong candidate to be its varsity team’s Rookie of the Year.
Charlie, a junior who primarily wrestles in the 182-pound weight class, has wrestled competitively throughout his life. While he did try other sports during his younger years, Charlie started gravitating toward the mat as he grew older. Now in his first season at the varsity level with the Indians, Charlie has come on as a contender who owns a record of 21-4, including eight victories via pin fall.
“I really got into wrestling this past offseason and now it’s my life and all I think about,” says Charlie. “I started lifting last year and also wrestled for Team Tugman in the offseason, where I traveled around the region and competed in tournaments. I also have great coaches and teammates who push each other to do well.”
Charlie’s offseason reps away from the Indians helped him gain just as much of a mental advantage as a physical one. The experience of competing against so many great grapplers instilled a belief in Charlie that he can take on any challengers in the Southern Connecticut Conference.
“I fell I’m physically and mentally stronger this year. Knowing I went far in tournaments with Team Tugman, it really helped my confidence,” Charlie says. “With that confidence, it gives you that extra edge over an opponent.”
Charlie doesn’t always plan on going for the quick finish, but he knows that wins by pin earn more points for the Indians, and he’s certainly developed a knack for putting his opponent’s shoulders on the ground.
“[Head Coach Craig Vedrani] always tells me to wrestle not to win, but to dominate your opponent,” says Charlie. “I just try to get as many points on the board for my team. That’s my goal in each match.”
Coach Vedrani says that Charlie works tirelessly to learn his craft and is relentless when it comes to attacking the mat. This approach includes Charlie’s ambition to take on larger adversaries.
“Charlie works his tail off at practice each day and also puts in the time during the offseason to improve. I see how focused Charlie has become and am proud of the wrestler he is becoming,” says Vedrani. “His efforts are showing on the mat. Since our team is missing a 195-pound wrestler, we often bump Charlie up from 182, and he never complains about the weight difference. He is an unselfish teammate that will always do what we ask of him to help the team win. Charlie has had multiple wins that has catapulted our team to victory.”
Charlie has won all nine of his matches wrestling up in the 195 ranks this year. Charlie knows that each one of his teammates would embrace that same challenge and feels the dedication among Guilford’s athletes has proved crucial to the squad’s success.
“I try not to think about it when I’m going into a match and having it psyche me out,” says Charlie on wrestling 195. “Our team is successful this year because we are all willing to do whatever it takes to be successful.”
Charlie appreciates how the tests and lessons of wrestling have helped him mature as a young man. Looking toward the future, Charlie would love to see his first varsity run at Guilford culminate with some individual and team gold at the both conference and state meets.
“Wrestling is the hardest sport both physically and mentally. It taught me lessons and things like responsibility because you are the only one out there. I also learned sportsmanship and how to win and lose with class. It’s helped me grow,” says Charlie, who thanks Coach Vedrani, his teammates, and Blair Tugman. “Our goals are to win SCCs and Class M at states. We have enough kids on the roster and a balanced lineup to do it. For me, I want to win states and hopefully place at the State Open.”
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