Walking onto the wrestling mat to the wild cheers of his teammates and fans, Sparta High School senior Garrett Stewart took on his Kittatinny High School opponent and walked off the mat holding the Sparta High School all-time record for wins, at a whopping 127. This feat was followed by 3 more wins on Saturday at the Pascack Valley High School Quad meet, launching Stewart to 130 wins and easily counting. With another month left in the 2020 wrestling season, all bets are on for the final count of Stewart's career total.
A 3-time varsity captain, Stewart has an impressive resume', starting his sophomore year where he finished in the top 24 of the State Qualifier, and he landed in the top 16 last year as a Junior. Rounding out his junior year, he held the Single Seasons Wins record with 41 wins. Stewart also is a 2-time Hunderton-Warren-Sussex (HWS) county tournament finalist, a HWS county champion and a 2-time HWS district champion.
Asked about his wrestling career, Stewart said he has been on the mat for 13 years and was "decent" in his younger years, but his skills flourished in high school.
"My coaches are so motivating; it actually feels like they're on the mat with me, and that's so important," Stewart said.
He praised his teammates and said wrestling has impacted his life.
"It teaches you that when you wrestle, everything else in life is easy by comparison because it's individual," Stewart said. "You have to beat that person physically, mentally and technically in order to get your hand raised by the ref. You will win by yourself, but it feels like we all won, with your team behind you."
Head coach Frank Battaglia noted Stewart's winning qualities.
"He's an all inclusive leader who commits with his whole heart," Battaglia said. "To be that high of a wrestler and still really care about everyone else on his team, is special. So, for him to break this record and keep winning like he is, is so wonderful and so deserved."
The record breaking likely doesn't end with Garrett; his twin brother Cooper, this year's varsity captain, is climbing from his impressive 108 career wins, and is also a HWS County Champion. Their younger brother, Spencer, placed 8th in the state last year as a Sophomore and, like his brothers, is also 2-time HWS County finalist and a HWS county champion. Sure to join the 100 club with his brothers, Spencer stands on the cusp of his 100th win with a current status of 99-16.