By Jenelyn Russo
Photo Credit: Robert Zaleski
Andrew Silva comes from a wrestling family, but he got his first real start in the sport as part of Team Credo, Servite High School's youth wrestling program. Now a senior at Servite and a returning CIF Champion, Silva has a mutual respect for the sport, his teammates and his opponents.
"I love wrestling for the way you can have friendships with your opponents," says Silva. "It's cool that we have that bond. We all know how hard we've worked."
Silva's CIF championship came last year in the 106-pound weight class, but the 17-year-old has worked to move up to the 113-pound weight class this season. As a captain for the Friars, Silva relies on communication and discipline to lead his teammates.
"Andrew is an outstanding wrestler who leads the team by example," says Servite head wrestling coach, Alan Clinton. "As a returning CIF Champion, he has proven that commitment and hard work pay off. During the summer and offseason, Andrew has continued his dedication to the sport, doing everything he is suppose to in preparation for his senior season. He has set high goals for himself, and we know he is capable of achieving all of them."
From the team side, those goals include overtaking Trinity League rival St. John Bosco. And as an individual, Silva not only wants to repeat as a CIF back-to-back champion, but he is also looking for that elusive Trinity League individual title. After placing fourth at the CIF-SS Masters Meet last year, Silva wants to win it this year and make his way to the top of the podium at the state finals. The challenging grind of training and weight maintenance isn't easy, but Silva remains focused.
"Discipline is what I've learned out of all of this," says the varsity wrestler. "There's a quote that I really put into play in my life, 'Once you've learned to wrestle, everything else in life is easier.' I've learned that I can never give up."
The Corona resident is giving back to the place where he got his start by coaching the next generation of high school wrestlers, including his younger brother, at Team Credo. Silva is exploring options to continue wrestling in college, and he has future plans to become a veterinarian.
Silva's most influential role models are his older brother, the one who introduced him to the sport and taught him much of what he knows, as well as his mother, whose hard work and sacrifices have allowed him to be at Servite and pursue the sport he loves. Faith and prayer give him peace as he battles through each match.
"I always pray that no one will get injured," says Silva. "Knowing that God is always there, protecting us, it's awesome."