The Observer

Athlete of the Month: March 2018

Photo+Courtesy+of+Andrew+Welch
Photo Courtesy of Andrew Welch

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Welch

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Welch

By Ethan C. Miller, Staff Writer

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His opponent is in his grasp. He goes for the pin. Five seconds pass and a victor is declared. That victor is senior wrestling captain Andrew Welch.

 

Varsity wrestling has once again put up an impressive season, boasting a 4A West Regional Championship win and finished the State finals in second place. Welch, who usually wrestles in the 195 weight class, has come a long way since starting wrestling. He started wrestling in the Bulldog Wrestling Club, a wrestling club held at CHS for kids ages six to 14, when he was in third grade. Now Welch helped the Bulldogs have an outstanding season with a team record this season 13 wins and only two losses.

 

“I like the mental toughness and discipline the sport requires,” Welch said. “Not only is it a physically grueling sport, it also is a mental game.”

 

Welch, who ended up with a personal record of 34 wins and two losses through the team-oriented part of the season, was dependable and wrestled his best when his team needed him most. During this portion of the season, the team’s outcome depends on points earned by the team collectively. Welch won his state finals match against a wrestler in the 220 weight class, which is higher than Welch’s normal one. Unfortunately, in the end, Urbana won out in the state finals.

 

“He’s our leader and our role model,” senior Elijah Zack said. “He gives everything he’s got each match, setting the bar for the entire team.”

 

Although Welch’s performance in the state finals was great, teammates Zack and junior Alec Velikanov believe that his biggest moment came in the PIT tournament at Paint Branch Jan. 13-14. Welch defeated the wrestler ranked ahead of him in double-overtime to secure first place for his weight class.

 

“The entire team was cheering louder than we ever had before,” Velikanov said. “We were all super excited.”

 

In addition to skill, Welch’s leadership abilities play a huge role to the success of the team. He is able to provide an example to younger wrestlers on the team as well as motivate his teammates to get better. Welch also applies the skills he learns as a CHS football and frisbee captain.

 

“As one of the captains, I try my best to take a leadership role on the team,” Welch said.
“However, it is sometimes difficult to maintain that leadership attitude all the time. That’s why this team is so great, because if I miss a step, my team is always there to back me up and help complete our goals.”

 

Behind every great athlete, there is a great coach. This holds true for Welch and his teammates, with coaches Tim Lowe and Tony Howard guiding the reins of the team.

 

“We have the best coaches in the state,” Welch said. “They know so much about the sport and will always have an answer for you when you come to them.”

 

Welch helped CHS make history this year by being the first CHS wrestling team to host and win Regionals, and then continue to States.

 

Welch’s praise for his coaches is reciprocated. His coaches appreciate the hard work and great results that Welch has given to CHS wrestling throughout his career.

 

“He provides leadership, stability and confidence, along with wins on the mat,” Lowe said. “Without him the team would not have achieved what we did this year.”

 

With team play at its end, Welch looks to continue his dominance and success into the individuals portion of the season, where each athlete wrestles for their own title . Welch won two of his three matches and placed second in his weight class at the MCPS County Championships Feb. 17 and placed first at the MCPS Regional Championships Feb. 24.

 

“It’s tough to imagine how the team would be without Andrew,” Velikanov said. “In all likelihood it would be a team with a far weaker soul to it.”

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Athlete of the Month: March 2018