Not many wrestlers in Section 1 are as big, strong and physically intimidating as Beacon senior Andrew Grella, but as you’ll find out by reading his answers below, there’s a lot more to the Division 1 195-pound champ. Grella was raised in a household that fostered his love for wrestling, and he’s become a legitimate force around the state this season. After putting on a takedown clinic in his 17-9 major decision over Greeley’s Brock Cvijanovich in the final, Grella will enter the state tournament as the 4-seed.
Here are the responses that I received from Andrew:
How did you get started with wrestling? I got started wrestling around 5 when my dad and brother used to play king of the bed, basically a game where whoever is the last man standing on the bed wins. My dad wrestled when he was younger so he taught us some moves, my favorite always being the blast double. He took us to a lot of tournaments.
What is it that you love about the sport? What I love about wrestling is that you can always get better. There’s always room for improvement, and how much the sport teaches you about yourself. I love the physical nature of the fight and putting yourself one-on-one against an opponent and seeing who’s worked harder.
Describe what was going through your head when the referee raised your hand after the finals: When the ref raised my hand I was thinking whether to smile or not. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do really, I just wanted to give a couple high fives and go into the locker room to be alone.
What was the most difficult obstacle that you had to overcome this season? This season the hardest thing I had to overcome was all of the expectations.
What area do you feel that you’ve improved in the most over the course of the season? Over the season I think I’ve improved most on my mat sense and sense of how much time left I have to do what I want. Coach (Ron) Tompkins usually yells out to me how much time I have left during the period. We go over in practice what to do at what times.
What are you like off of the mat? Off the mat I love to spend my time doing things such as hunting and fishing with my buddies. If I could be anywhere right now it would be salmon fishing. But, other than that, I’m a pretty friendly guy. I get along with everyone.
What is playing in your headphones while you get ready for a match? I don’t listen to music before my matches, but only because I can’t fit headphones into my cauliflower ear. And Flips headphones are too expensive. But if I were to have favorite warm-up music it would be any Johnny Cash or old country music.
What is your favorite food? My favorite food by far is pizza. Chances are you can find me any day at Sal’s pizza eating a penne ala vodka slice.
Name one thing that’s interesting about you that people may not know about: Something you may not know about me is Jordan Burroughs is not only my favorite wrestler, but my role model.
I’ll be running these “Meet the Champs” posts everyday leading up to states. I emailed all of the section champs that I had information, but if you didn’t receive one for some reason and would like to be included, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dawn Sela Photography