Undefeated wrestler lets opponent with Down syndrome win

Posted at 2:59 PM, Jan 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-29 14:59:30-05

A high school wrestling star gave up a shot at going undefeated this year, but some people think he had the perfect season.

Norton High School co-captain Devin Schuko had a 27-0 record when he faced off against Andy Howland, a wrestler at neighboring Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School in Massachusetts, who has Down syndrome.

The match went quickly, with Howland forcing Schuko to the mat and pinning him for the win. They shook hands and Schuko went back to his bench, while Howland celebrated with his coaches and teammates.

Schuko didn’t make a big fuss, but his act of sportsmanship didn’t go unnoticed.

A parent in the stands shot video of the match and posted it on Facebook.

“This is a video of what a team captain and leader looks like,” Anthony Pucino wrote on Facebook. “So proud to have witnessed this. Truly a special young man. Thank you Schuko!”

More than 400,000 people have watched the video on Facebook, and the story has attracted a lot of media attention.

“Andrew has been wrestling for about 6 years and has a few wins under his belt. It’s nice to see good sportsmanship is not dead,” Howland’s mother, Debbie Erickson Howland, wrote on Facebook. She thanked Schuko for giving Andy a memory he would never forget.

Schuko, the top-ranked Division III wrestler in his weight class, gave Andy all the credit in an interview with CNN affiliate WBZ in Boston.

“We locked up and he was a tough kid,” Schuko said. “He just snapped me down and put in a front headlock and bulldogged me over to my back.”

He says the experience has been humbling.

“It’s pretty cool that all this attention has been drawn for a simple act of kindness.”