CATSKILL — Talking with Rich Forbes you learn that he is a dedicated kid, a senior wrestler, captain and now a Catskill legend. As of this last weekend, Forbes now holds the record of most wins for any Catskill wrestler in its program history.
Forbes currently holds the record at 138 wins in a career. He surpassed the previous record of 136 wins set in 2011, held by Tyler Pavlin. The senior standout competes in the 170-pound weight class, and has compiled a record of 36-0 this season.
“It feels really good,” Forbes said of his school record. “I just work so hard in the offseason.”
Wrestling has become more then just a seasonal, high school hobby. It’s become a lifestyle, a goal and a source of joy for Forbes.
“I always set goals for myself,” he said. “I have goals posted all over my house, in my bathroom, in my room, on my fridge. Just like to keep me on track, so it feels really good.”
This past Saturday, at the Section 2 Class C Tournament held in Corinth, Forbes earned four wins. The third win, which was a semi-final match against Colby Hoolihan, a wrestler from Hadley-Luzerne/Lake George, was the win where Forbes broke Pavlin’s record. Forbes beat Hoolihan with a pin, 1:01 into the match.
Forbes began his wrestling career as a seventh grader, starting in the program.
“I only started wrestling because I got bullied as a little kid and I was just getting tired of getting picked on,” Forbes said “So, I joined the wrestling team in seventh grade and I had one win.”
Forbes likes to look on that first win and laugh.
“The kid tripped, fell and I put him on his back,” Forbes said. “Looking back at that, it’s just like wow.”
In his second season as an eighth-grader is when Forbes started to really enjoy wrestling.
“I was a backup in eight grades,” Forbes said, “I caught a few forfeits and a few extra wins here and there,”
When the varsity wrestler (of the same weight class) was injured during the season, Rich filled in where he could.
It was also in eighth grade when Catskill coach Richard Mandigo noticed that Forbes had some potential as a wrestler.
“In eighth grade, he placed fourth at the Corinth tournament, which is a tough tournament,” Mandigo said, adding it’s Forbes’ work ethic that sets him apart.
“He doesn’t only work like that in the off-season,” Mandigo said, “When he leaves this practice he is going to Troy to Curby (An underground 3-Style Wrestling Club) so he works, practices, sometimes for over four hours a day.”
After regular classes are finished for Forbes, he will put in an hour of cardio prior to gym class. Forbes does 40 minutes on the elliptical machine and then about 20 minutes on a bike machine. From there, Forbes goes to practice with Mandigo and the team.
“Then I’ll go home to get something to eat and then go up to Troy (to wrestle in Curby).” Forbes said. “If I don’t go up to Troy, then I’ll lift in my room, do extra pushups, I’ll do wrestling workouts with my little brothers.”
Rich has two younger brothers who are up-coming in the Catskill program, ninth-grader Steven Forbes and eight-grader Daniel Forbes, who show potential for the future.
Forbes is looking forward to the Section 2 Division II Championship on Saturday at the Cool Insurance Arena in South Glens Falls, where he is the No. 2 seed in the 170-pound class. He is looking to compete well, but he really has his eyes on the Division II state championships.
“Yeah the state qualifier last year, I didn’t have the showing I wanted to have,” Forbes said, “So my goal this year is to place as high as possible in the state.”
Mandigo is looking forward to the tournament as well.
“There is a wrestler from Cobleskill who is ranked third and Rich is ranked sixth, it’s going to be a wonderful, final state qualifier.”
While Mandigo admits there is tough competition, he had good faith in Rich.
“Regardless of what happens he should still make the state tournament, but I actually think he will win it.”
Overall, Mandigo is extremely proud of Forbes and the skills he has brought to the team.
“In my 41 years of coaching, he is the most dedicated wrestler I ever had.” Mandigo said. “I’ve had some really dedicated wrestlers, but his motivation and his goal-setting are just extraordinary. He has been like this for years now.”
Looking into the near future, Rich Forbes is also committed to wrestle in college as well. He has received a scholarship to attend Castleton University in Vermont.
“I’m really excited to attend there,” Forbes said.
He also knows several people who currently attend the university as well.
“There is a great coach there, he reminds me of Mandigo,” Forbes said. “When I visited there, it just felt like home.”