Wrestling Win for Down Syndrome Student Makes Two Winners

'A young man showed true character. He had lost his match, but instead of focusing on himself,' he reached out to others

by Melanie Dadourian | Updated 14 Feb 2018 at 12:36 PM

A high school student with Down syndrome won his very first wrestling tournament this past weekend in Seward, Nebraska.

The spontaneous match between Grant Fehlhafer, a freshman who practices with his team but does not compete, and a senior from another school is going viral on social media.

According to Live Well Nebraska, Austin Middleton, a senior at Ralston High, noticed that the freshman wrestler with Down syndrome was anxious to compete.

Grant’s mom, Caroline Fehlhafer, said in a Facebook post that Austin Middleton showed real sportsmanship toward her son, who acts as the team’s manager.

“Today at district wrestling a young man, Austin Middleton, Ralston, [showed] true character. He had just lost his match and his chances of going to state. Instead of focusing on himself, he saw a boy walking around in his singlet. He took initiative and asked the Seward coach if Grant wanted to wrestle.”

She added," They got a referee and Grant got to wrestling in his first match. Wrestling is usually judged by its wins and losses; today it's about character. We are thankful for the Seward wrestling team and the Ralston wrestling team."

After the two athletes started with a handshake, they began to grapple.

In 30 seconds, Grant had Austin on his back. The referee hit the mat, and Grant had recorded a pin.

Related: She's No Stranger to Helping Others — Even a Rival

"That was a very big moment for [my son]. Everyone in that room knew what that meant. It meant he was embraced for who he was — a wrestler," Grant's mother told Live Well Nebraska.

This Fox News piece is used by permission.

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(photo credit, homepage and article images: Caroline Schwehr Fehlhafer)

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  2. down-syndrome
  3. gallantry
  4. high-school
  5. nebraska
  6. true-character
  7. viral
  8. wrestling
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