HARDYSTON, NJ - Wrestling is a sport that is meant to be traditional and respectful of opponents. While it is a very physical sport, there are still things that are frowned upon on the mat. Senior Adam Schlereth was put to the test with all of this.
On the final day of the regional tournament at Wallkill Valley Regional high school, things started out normally for Newton. They knew they had to overcome adversity with both of their wrestlers starting their day in the wrestle backs.
In Schlereth’s first match of the 220-pound weight class wrestle backs, things started out well for him against Ralph Hall of Lenape Valley. Schlereth defeated Hall with a 2:28 fall but then things turned for the worse when Hall threw a punch at Schlereth after the whistle.
“He was a sore sport about it,” said Schlereth. “He shook my hand and then hit me with a nice punch.”
Schlereth and Hall have a little bit of history playing youth football together so this was not the first time they have seen each other.
“He’s always been the type of kid to be mad or frustrated after he loses,” added Schlereth. “But, I didn’t think he would actually punch me.”
After Hall threw the punch, he was kicked out of the building and police on duty followed him out. It is possible that Hall could face charges for assault since he is 18 years old. If facing a tough bracket was not enough for Schlereth, he had this distraction for the rest of the day.
“Everybody was talking to me about it but I was trying to focus on my match,” noted Schlereth. “The cops came to me and asked if I wanted to press charges but I told them to talk to me after I wrestle.”
Despite the punch controversy, Schlereth still made an impressive run to the consolation finals where he went on to lose in a 5:04 fall.
“Coming in as a seven seed, nobody expected me to do what I did,” said Schlereth.
While Schlereth was getting the attention for Newton, the Braves had another wrestler trying to win their way through the wrestle backs. This was senior Lance Fischer in the 160-pound weight class, who won in a 5:03 fall and 4-1 respectively in his first two matches to have a chance at going to the state tournament. Unfortunately, Fischer also lost in the consolation finals in a 5:13 fall.
For Schlereth and Fischer, this was their last shot at the state tournament and despite overcoming a lot of adversity, both of them will end their high school wrestling careers coming up just short of a spot in the state tournament.
“It was a lot of fun and a lot shorter than I thought it was going to be,” added Schlereth.