By Pablo Di Maria
The California Wrestler
The California Wrestler got the opportunity to speak to one of the top lower weight wrestlers in the Southern Section in Andrew Silva of Servite High. As a junior, Andrew won a CIF individual championship and advanced to the state tournament. This season, he will anchor the Friars to another successful season along with his teammates. Andrew and I spoke about his wrestling career and future endeavors this outstanding young man should be accomplishing.
TCW – Tell us about your wrestling career – how you got started when you fell in love with the sport and realized you were good?
Andrew – I got introduced to wrestling when I was around six years old. It all started when my uncle Termite picked my brother and me up for wrestling practice, and I remember coming home and telling my mom I didn't want to go again because it was too hard. My uncle had come back to pick us up a few days later. I remember my brother and I both hid upstairs, so we didn't have to go. I then got reintroduced to the sport when my brother started wrestling in high school, I did a little kids program at nine years old, and I've stuck with it ever since. I fell in love with the sport during my sophomore year because I would technically say that was the first year I endured everything wrestling had to offer. I wrestled high-level guys, I finally started cutting weight, and I lost a lot, so it made me embrace being uncomfortable which made me start loving the sport. That led on to having success in my junior year, and that's when I began to realize I could have a future in this sport.
TCW – Last year you had much success as you advanced to the CIF state tournament. Tell us about your mentality coming in and what's changed for the upcoming season?
Andrew – My mentality for this upcoming season is to dominate every match. Last year I was hesitant and gave the good guys a little too much respect. This year I'm confident that I won't only beat those tough guys, but I'll dominate them. I'm looking forward to winning another CIF Title, being on top of the state podium and leading my team to a team CIF title knockin St. John Bosco off.
TCW – What would you say was the best match you wrestled last year?
Andrew – Last year was a tough year with a lot of ups and downs. I hadn't won a tournament, and I always came in either second or third place. I can't pinpoint an exact match that I wrestled my best but I would say the best I've ever wrestled was at CIF, I won every match by bonus points and beat a kid in the finals that had previously beaten me four times before.
TCW – What about a match in your career where you can pinpoint and say your realized something about your wrestling skills?
Andrew – A match in my career in which I realized something about my wrestling skills was in my quarterfinals match at masters when I was down by three points with less than a minute left, and I got a single leg and ended up cradling him to win the match. I realized I'm longer than most people and once I lock my hands up, not many people can get out.
TCW – How much have your coaches (Alan Clinton, Tony Okada, and Joe Estrada) influenced your wrestling style and help you achieve greatness on the mats?
Andrew – They have all played a part in helping me become the wrestler I am today, and I am extremely grateful for that. One of the coaches that have had a significant impact on me is my brother's old coach, Coach Espinoza. He has played a role in helping me figure out my style and helped strengthen my faith with God. That in itself has helped me become a better wrestler because now I'm not just wrestling for myself but I'm wrestling for God by always being humble in victory and defeat, also by displaying the gifts and talents he's given me.
TCW – Your elder brother (A.J.) was a great wrestler for the Friars, how is he helping you become a better wrestler?
Andrew – I wouldn't be the wrestler I am without A.J. He's gotten me mentally stronger, and physically stronger. He's my brother so sometimes wrestling leads to fighting, but at the end of the day it not only makes my wrestling tougher but makes our relationship tougher as well, we know it's not personal. A.J. has many stories, and he's always passing down his knowledge on to me. One thing we always talk about is how his wrestling career at Servite ended and how it still doesn't sit well him. He's still disappointed in himself that he never got to accomplish his goals. He explains how he didn't achieve them not because people were better than him but because he didn't have self-confidence and he let the weight cut get to him. He's selfless, and it takes much pride to admit your failures, but I know he tells me them, so I don't make the same mistakes he did. One thing he always tries to instill in me is to always believe in myself, and that I can beat anybody in the State, the only person that can beat me is myself.
TCW – How do you balance wrestling, social life, and school?
Andrew – I make sure that during practice, I push myself and hold myself accountable in the wrestling room knowing I pushed myself the hardest I possibly could and that usually allows me to put my focus on my academics later on. My social life consists of hanging out with friends going mini golfing or just playing Fortnite online with my friends.
TCW – What are your future goals off and on the mats?
Andrew – My future goals in wrestling are to be on the top of the state podium this year and hopefully wrestle at a Division I College. While in college I would be studying to become a Veterinarian.
TCW – Favorite T.V. Show?
Andrew – The OG Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
TCW – Favorite food?
Andrew – Wetzel Pretzel's Pizza
TCW – Who's your biggest fan when you're wrestling?
Andrew – Oh wow, that's a tough question. I'm fortunate enough that I don't have just one biggest fan. My support system is made up of my grandparents, my mom (Shawna) and dad, older brother A.J. and younger brother Aaron, uncle Termite and my Nina. They've been supporting me from the start of my wrestling career when I was just an 85lb freshman that lost every match to now a slightly bigger senior. I'm grateful to have such a great support system.
TCW – Whom would you like to thank for having your back on and off the wrestling mats?
Andrew – I want to thank my older brother A.J. He's the reason I was able to accomplish so much last season. He's busy working two jobs, going to school full time and he still finds time to practice with me. He also tutors me at home because I can't go to tutoring during the day because of practice. We always watch film, and he's the main reason I was able to become a CIF Champion last year. After the success I had last season, a lot of family members and friends have told my brother that I'm catching up to him or that I'm already better than he was, they try to tease A.J to get him mad but his response is always, "I hope Andrew is better than me, we didn't train this hard for Andrew to stay the same." Before wrestling, we would always fight, but wrestling has strengthened our relationship. However, we're still brothers, so we still tease each other on silly things like who had the better wrestling season. I always win that argument because I went further than he did and he claims if he was in high school at the same time, he was he would still beat me. Nevertheless, deep down we both know why I've had success in this sport, and that's all because of him. Also, my mom (Shawna) as she works hard for my brothers and me. She's a blessing in disguise.