Brick Memorial Special Needs Wrestler David Richards Gets His Moment of Glory
MIDDLETOWN — David Richards is a special needs student at Brick Memorial who has been with the Mustangs' wrestling team for three years, competing at the junior varsity level and being a part of one of New Jersey's most storied programs.
On Saturday morning he got his chance to wrestle in his first varsity match, and in that moment David became Goliath.
In an additional bout after No. 4 Middletown North held on for a thrilling 32-29 win over No. 9 Brick Memorial, Richards, who has Down’s Syndrome, went out to face Middletown North freshman Richie Wall. The two had wrestled in a junior varsity bout earlier in the week with Wall winning, but this time it was Richards’ turn.
Richards scored a quick takedown, then another after Wall got to his feet. Soon after, Richards worked an underhook into a cement job to flatten Wall and secure the pin in the first period. He rose to his feet and let out a thunderous roar.
“That’s what it’s all about,” said David’s father, Dan Richards. “It’s not about the winning or losing, it’s about the inclusion and being part of a team. I didn’t know what was going to happen today, Tim (Brick Memorial assistant Tim Brennan) told me it’s going to be a good match. Little did I know it was going to go in that direction. It means the world to us.”
A match with David was originally supposed to go down on Wednesday against Brick, but the plans fell through. Brick Memorial then approached Middletown North head coach Matt Sirchio with the idea of having Richards wrestle after the conclusion of the varsity match.
“They asked me about it and we were all for it,” Sirchio said. “That kid has put in a lot of time, and the fact he is a part of the program is a huge morale boost.”
“We’ve had some kids in the past that can’t wrestle but have been in the room with us working. One of our managers can barely walk but has worked through it and is a big inspiration for us. It teaches the kids humility and character going forward in life.”
For Wall, who is only a freshman, the chance to help Richards forge a defining moment was special.
“It means a lot to me,” Wall said. “You see kids every day that can’t do it or think they can’t do it, but David comes out here and fights and works hard. I knew what I had to do. He had a blast. He was screaming like he won the championship.”
Monumental wins and epic games are what define high school sports, but moments like this are the ones that are truly unforgettable.
Wrestling editor Bob Badders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.