Deven Schuko brought an undefeated record into his match with Andy Howland. He left with his first loss, but it's one he won't regret.
Over the weekend, Schuko -- one of the top-ranked high school wrestlers in the state of Massachusetts -- faced off with Howland, an aspiring wrestler with Down syndrome, who was on the opposing school's wrestling team. Howland was eager to challenge Schuko, but wasn't expected to compete with the team co-captain.
Then, surprisingly, Schuko lost -- intentionally, to give Howland an experience he'll cherish forever. Adults from both schools praised the gesture, which came without warning and surprised the crowd in attendance.
This is a video of what a team captain and leader looks like. Devin Schuko, a senior with a 27-0 record this year, a young man who earned his 100th career win a few days ago to join the century club at NHS, took the time to make a dream come true for young wrestler with special needs from Dighton Rehoboth's team. So proud to have witnessed this. Truly a special young man.. Thank you Schuko!
Posted by Anthony Pucino on Sunday, January 24, 2016
"When you get a story like this, and a fine young man like Deven can step up and wrestle our Andy Howland, you know, he's in for a tussle," said Doug Kelley, the athletic director for Howland's Dighton-Rehoboth High School, to WCVB News.
Howland's coach called Schuko a "class act." And Schuko had plenty of praise for his opponent.
"He threw in a good move," Schuko told WCVB. "He was strong. He's a tough kid.
"If I had to lose to someone, I'd like to lose to Andy. It was a win-win in my book. He won, I won."