Wrestler of the Week or Maybe Year?
This weekend dreams came true for 224 athletes in the state of Indiana.Â For some it seems as routine as the sun coming up, for others it is something they have worked long and hard for.Â This is just one of many great stories about a state qualifier this year.Â As a coach, fan, parent or athlete, you can't help, but to cheer on kids like this.Â Good luck to all the athletes at the state finals this Friday and Saturday.
By Phil Arnold
Normally, you wouldn't think a 4th place finish at Semi-State as qualifying a wrestler for a wrestler of the week honor.Â After all, there were 56 Semi-State champions in the state and three wrestlers finished higher just in his weight class alone.Â But, as Paul Harvey is famous for saying, sometimes you need to know "the rest of the story."
Jared Schwartz reported for wrestling last year as a soft, somewhat pudgy freshman.Â His Middle School career was just average, winning some and losing some.Â He wasn't one of those freshmen expected to make a difference on the varsity and, to be honest, he didn't.Â He wrestled the year as the varsity 125lber mostly because Adams Central didn't have anyone else.Â Jared improved as the year went on, but still finished the year with only 3 wins against 22 losses.Â The biggest improvement, though, was in his attitude.Â His statement to the coaches at the end of the season was "I'm sick of losing."
So, Jared took the off-season more seriously than before.Â He was a regular at club practices and participated in more tournaments than ever.Â The Jets expected him to be improved in 2009 and he was.Â He won 2/3 of his matches, but met strong competition in the conference and area.Â Then, the tournament season started.Â Jared wasn't seeded for conference and lost his first match, but he defeated the number 2 and 4 seeds in the wrestle-backs to take third.Â The sectional saw him seeded sixth, but he avenged earlier losses to upset the number 3 and 2 seeds and finish as the runner-up.Â He repeated that finish as regional runner-up to advance to semi-state.Â Still, no one took him seriously.Â A quick review of the FW Semi-State Pick contest showed no one picked him to beat Jimmy Larowe of East Noble.
But he did.Â Using good form and balance Jared scored three takedowns and won 6-4.Â From 3-22 to state qualifier in one year!Â Sounds like a good candidate for Wrestler of the Week to me.