Athlete Spotlight: James Wood football player Andrew Link

62f293496ca43.imageJames Wood High School 17-year-old senior
Sport: Football. Positions: H-back and linebacker
Parents: Robin and Will Link
Hometown: Winchester
What do you love about football?: I love being part of the team and all the hard work that we put in. It pays off in the game.
Most memorable moment in football: I looked around after we were told we had to quarantine for COVID [in the spring 2021 season], and all the seniors were just devastated. That made me realize I had to cherish every moment with football.
Most embarrassing moment in football: Dropping an interception in middle school that would have been a touchdown. The ball went right through my hands.
Most difficult moment in football: When we’re all in conditioning together. We try to hype up our teammates, but it really doesn’t feel good in the moment.
Three people you can have dinner with, dead or alive: My great-grandma on my mom’s side [Marta Pitzer]; I really didn’t get to meet her. She passed away when I was young. I would like to see what she would have to say. Rai Benjamin; he’s a 400-meter hurdler. (Benjamin was a silver medalist at this year’s World Championships and at the Tokyo Olympics.) He’s one of the greatest of all time and I would like to talk to him about his techniques, and about how hard he works. Tadej Pogacar; he’s a two-time Tour de France champion in cycling. This year he didn’t win the race because he lost his team members to various things. I would talk to him about his experiences and how not having his team affected the outcome of the race.
Biggest athletic influence: [James Wood football assistant] Coach [Mark] Weir. He works with me and my teammates every day in practice, and makes us better.
Favorite teacher: Ms. [Caitlin] Gilmore, my eighth-grade science teacher [at Frederick County Middle School]. If you were having a bad day, she just brightened your day. The class was a lot of fun. She just really cared about everyone and really got to know you better.
Favorite athlete: Alex Ovechkin
Favorite sports team: Washington Capitals
Favorite movie: “Courageous”
Favorite TV show: “American Ninja Warrior”
Favorite song: “Getting Started” by Jeremy Camp
Favorite food: Chicken parmesan
Worst thing you’ve eaten: Brussels sprouts
Plans after high school: I would like to go somewhere to better my sporting career in football or in track, and try to get a degree in either criminal justice or forensic science. If that wouldn’t work out, I’m going to try and apply to one of the academies to be in the military. I would just like to help people. I would be serving my country with the military. With criminal justice and forensic science, I would be helping people with a possible loss of a family member as a detective or in the lab with matching DNA.
— Compiled by Robert Niedzwiecki