The top ranked New England prep school wrestler in his weight class, Captain Christian Vallis ’14 is steadily improving a young team that is over 75 percent Juniors and Lowers.
Vallis, who entered the role of Captain for the first time this year, said that he has looked to his observations from the past for Wrestling leadership strategies.
“I have not done anything drastically different than captains in the past. I try to model myself after the past captains because they have obviously done a great job. But,I have tweaked the little stuff like warms-ups, and I have tried to be a little more open to questions and open to see if my teammates need anything,” said Vallis.
“I try to make it clear to the team that if they have a problem, they should just come talk about it to me,” he added.
Vallis’ father wrestled in college and got Vallis interested in wrestling when he was as young as two years old.
In his Junior year, Vallis was an All-American. Vallis won New Englands last year and is currently ranked seventh in the nation.
Vallis has worked with Head Coach Rich Gorham since his Junior year, but now that Vallis is Captain, their relationship has changed. “We have a great relationship. He gives me a little bit of freedom during practice, but I never try to overpower him,” said Vallis.
“Christian Vallis has done an exceptional job as Captain of the wrestling team this season. He is a quiet leader who sets a fine example with his work ethic and devotion to the sport,” said Gorham.
“I try to be a role-model. I am not the yelling type, and I don’t want my teammates to be exactly like me, but I try to lead by example. As Captain, it is on me to lead the team and to push them. But, the team’s success is also on them, and the wrestlers have to push themselves and want to win in order to improve themselves,” said Vallis.
Not only is Vallis supportive of his teammates during practice, but he also tries to make an impact on the team outside of practice.
“Usually on Sundays we do something small just to keep in shape, stay active and to keep your mind off your homework,” said Vallis.
“Bus rides to and from games are a good way to bond and get to know kids that you wouldn’t spend time with otherwise,” he added.
Andover won its first match against Noble & Greenough 35-31, but since then it has lost to Choate 36-40 and Tabor 30-48.
“We have had a difficult schedule, and we do have a young team, three [quarters] of the team are either [Juniors] or Lowers, but we are improving every week. Next we are going to have some easier competitions, and I think that we can definitely win. I know we that have gotten much better by facing really tough competitors early on, so I am really not worried,” said Vallis.
Vallis is optimistic about the season. “This year I think we have a shot at the a spot in the top five in New England, but if we do not win this year, we will definitely have a better shot the year after as the team gets older,” he said.