Stultz switches uniforms during wrestling season
Grady Stultz is a Goessel Bluebird through and through.
That is, if he isn't wrestling.
During the winter sports season the senior from Goessel High School drives to Hillsboro High School, puts on a maroon and gold singlet, and becomes a Hillsboro Trojan.
Doesn't bother him.
Of course he is loyal to his school, but he is loyal to wrestling as well, and the only way he can do that is be part of the cooperative between USD 410 and 411.
"I have friends from both towns," he said. "It might be weird if we played them in football. But maybe not."
He doesn't have to find out since GHS is eight-man and HHS 11, but his wrestling coach Scott O'Hare doesn't think it would matter.
"I've always felt he's been comfortable," O'Hare said.
Even, unfortunately, when regionals and the state tournament rolls around, and any points Stultz accumulates go to Goessel.
O'Hare still coaches him during that time, and even though his and other Goessel wrestlers' points in the past could have helped HHS out, it doesn't seem to matter.
"He's part of the team," O'Hare said.
It's been tough on Stultz this year because he is now the only wrestler from GHS.
He drives to Hillsboro everyday, even now that he's sidelined with a broken rib, and the team waits to start practice until he arrives.
"Even though I don't put that pressure on him, he's still the kind of kid who wants to be accountable," O'Hare said.
So as soon as school is over, Stultz jumps in his car, (he used to ride over with his mom when his brother wrestled and a school bus when others wrestled) and heads north to practice.
That now consists mostly of sitting and watching, and will soon mean riding an exercise bike.
"It doesn't really bother me," Stultz said of the trip.
But O'Hare knows it's harder than just walking from a classroom right down the hall from the wrestling room.
"I know he feels it mentally because it's so demanding," O'Hare said. "He feels rushed."
For Stultz, however, it's either feel rushed or don't wrestle.
And since he's been wrestling since grade school, the latter is not an option.
He actually began wrestling in the Hillsboro junior program before his father, who was president of the Goessel REC, started a kids' program there.
He then went back to Hillsboro in middle school, and the dedication led to his first trip to the 3-2-1A state wrestling tournament.
"Before the matches I was nervous," Stutlz said. "But once it started, I didn't notice anything."
In a way, that's how his time at HHS has been.
Now that he is in his final season, Stultz doesn't even notice he's wrestling for a different school. His focus is getting back on the mat, and hopefully, back to state.
O'Hare said the varsity doesn't have much before winter break, but come January they hit the mat hard, and he's hoping Stultz will be a part of that.
"We're hoping he can come back and finish his senior year strong," O'Hare said.
If it takes the determination he's already shown, that shouldn't be a problem.