INDIAN TRAIL – As a freshman last season, Sun Valley wrestler Andrew Macchiavello won 30 matches, but it was the two that he lost at the end of the year that have stuck with him.
Wrestling at 195 pounds last year, Macchiavello had a great first season with the team. But then he lost his match at the western regional and later finished fifth in the state, one spot from advancing on.
“It is my motivation,” he said. “I was very disappointed when I lost that match at states. It has me working harder and more focused this year on everything.”
The losses have changed Macchiavello’s mindset and his workout routine. Through lifting and eating right during the football season, he’s put on 25 pounds of mostly muscle.
This winter, Macchiavello has already won more matches than all of last year and is flourishing at 220 pounds with a 35-8 record that already includes the Southern Carolinas Conference title he won Feb. 1 by going 3-0. In that tournament, Macchiavello pinned two wrestlers in just over a minute each, falling Piedmont’s Ryan Wetzel in 1:08 to claim the title.
“He’s still really athletic for a big guy, which is really helping him at the 220-pound weight class,” Spartan coach Joshua Metcalf said. “He’s just getting bigger, faster and stronger. He’s just a sophomore, but the dude is 222 pounds and there is no flabbiness on him. He’s also gotten a lot better technique-wise. He was at times just a ‘I’m a big, strong freshman and I’m going to power you.’ Now, he’s more controlled aggression with opening and moving his attacks. He’s starting to put it together.”
Macchiavello credits his growth this season to paying more attention to detail in regards to his on-the-mat skills, but also by thinking less when he gets out there.
“My motivation and my mentality is totally different when I go in there,” he said. “Last year I used to overthink things too much. If I was going against a kid that was big I would wonder if I could beat him, but now I’ve changed it and I don’t even think about the kid. I get there, warm up and handle my stuff.”
Macchiavello has turned into a leader by example for a Spartan team that needs one, with 12 of the 17 team members listed on Trackwrestling.com either freshmen or sophomores.
And Macchiavello isn’t stopping with a 38-win season or a conference title. He has bigger, yet attainable, dreams.
“He sees himself already as a state champion at some point,” Metcalf said. “He says he plans on winning states and he wants to at least by his senior year. He leads by example, but he’s getting a little more vocal. Once he gets that, I’m blessed to have him for the next two and a half years to mold my freshmen and my middle-schoolers.”
While Macchiavello is certainly on the road to success, he comes from a family that has tasted it first hand.
His brother, Michael, is a 2018 NCAA national champion while at N.C. State and a highly decorated United States National Team member.
“It’s known everywhere,” Metcalf said. “Everywhere we go people know, but he’s actually really fine with it. I don’t think he cares. He cares in that he loves it and is glad of the fact he won it, but he’s not like caught up in it. He’s not like that and his brother’s not like that at all either.”
It has to be tough to be the brother or son of an icon, but by all accounts, Macchiavello is handling it just fine.
“I take it pretty cool, but also it’s my new stepping stone to get past where he ever did here,” Macchiavello said. “It’s motivation for me. Sometimes it can get tiring hearing people talk about it, but it also makes me want to set a new goal and push past what he has accomplished.”
The younger Macchiavello has the one-upper.
For as much success as his brother has experienced in college and beyond, the highest he ever finished in a state tournament at Sun Valley was third.
With three tries including later this month, Macchiavello has the chance to do something even his famous brother didn’t.
“It would mean a lot to me and it would show a lot of appreciation to him as well so that’s my new goal,” he said. “That’s what I’m focused on. I need to keep working hard, keep paying attention in the wrestling room and keep my focus.”