By Marty Gordon
When Christiansburg High School takes to the wrestling mat this afternoon in the Salem Civic Center, they will be seeking their 18th straight state title, and Andy Smith will try to back up a regional individual win for his first ever state championship.
Smith has put together a season to brag about, compiling a 41-5 mark and being ranked as one of the top wrestlers in the entire country. This comes after a 2018 season he found himself watching from the stands for several matches.
His coach Cliff Warden said it all has a lot to do with his work ethic.
“He has improved the last two years, going from a non-place winner to top 15 in the country. He simply works harder than everybody else,” the coach said.
The 220-pound wrestler might also have a little extra motivation off the mat as his mother was diagnosed with cancer this past fall. He said Wednesday that she is doing better and continuing her fight. He now fights for her on the mat.
His wrestling family at CHS has rallied behind the family and mother. After asking Warden, they have placed her name on everyone’s head gear. So, when they take to the mat, the big “C” now has an additional “INDY.” So, now it says “CINDY.”
“It was pretty awesome that they (the team) did that,” Andy Smith said.
Warden said the name on the head gear is just an example of the brotherhood and family that his wrestlers and their family experience every time they take to the mats.
Smith, who has been wrestling since sixth grade, has committed to wrestle at ACC-power Virginia Tech. “I am exciting about wrestling in Blacksburg and some day would love to claim a NCAA title.”
He plans to major in computer science. Smith also had an offer to wrestle in college at Buffalo.
Smith admits he has butterflies going into this weekend’s event. “But that’s good I think. I always have them, but I’m confident going into the match,” he concluded.
Semi-final action is expected to take place near mid-day with finals around 3 p.m.