During Battle wrestling's home meet against Helias on Friday, Spartans senior Andrew Shea was chasing a milestone as he took the mat with Helias senior Zack Carr — the 150th win of his high school career.
In the first period, the two tangled evenly, leaving a pair of goose eggs on the scoreboard. Shea's father, Britt Shea, barked down advice from the top of the bleachers as he watched his son.
"More movement," Britt shouted.
As the second period began, Andrew looked up at his father. Perhaps inspired by his father, the senior dominated Carr, scoring an escape, a takedown and a near fall for a 5-0 lead heading into the final period.
Carr fought back hard in the final round, twisting out of Shea's grip and reversing the hold for two points. As the time ticked on, Shea coolly countered Carr's attempts to flip and pin him.
"Don't settle," Battle head coach Michael Wadik yelled from the sideline.
Shea responded and spun out of Carr's hold for the final point of the bout and a 6-2 landmark victory.
Despite Shea's personal accomplishment, Battle fell 47-24 to Helias.
"That's what I like about the sport — it teaches these men and women responsibility. It's instilled in Andrew: hard work, determination and optimism. It's been great for all my boys," Britt Shea said.
Andrew is one of three Sheas involved with the wrestling squad at Battle. Jackson Shea is a sophomore while Alex Shea is an assistant coach for the team.
"For sure, I'm the best," Andrew said in reference to his brothers.
Andrew also acknowledged the influence that the sport has had on him.
"It's taught me a lot about being a man and owning up to my mistakes," Shea said. "Physically, there's not a whole lot more I can do to prepare, but I've just got to keep my goal in mind."
That goal is a state title.
"All of our assistants have a lot of knowledge and experience that they try to use to help train the athletes," Wadik said. "Andrew has the most experience of anyone on the team, but he knows he can get better. He's a hard worker and a team leader."
The loss to Helias won't feel good, but with districts looming on Feb. 9th, Andrew and the rest of the Spartans have to buckle down and prepare for the tests yet to come.
Supervising editor is James Patterson.