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Mesa wrestler brings joy to opponent in unplanned match

Mesa wrestler
Posted at 2:25 PM, Mar 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-08 20:48:54-05

A Mesa wrestler has set aside competition to help bring joy to another wrestler, who has special needs, by taking part in an unplanned varsity match.

JB Erb, a sophomore at Dobson High School did not have a match at a competition last week after there was no one in his weight class, but the opposing team had a wrestler waiting for his chance.

Mesa wrestler brings joy to opponent in unplanned match

Coach Jake Allen, of Dobson High School, tells ABC15 that their team was approached about an unexpected match, and it was a surprise to spectators.

“All of our kids were standing on our side, the coaches were standing, the spectators were standing, everybody was clapping, it was just a special moment,” said Coach Allen.

Erb tells us that he didn’t know what to expect, but when he stepped on the wrestling mat, the other coach told him to start hand fighting and they did.

Erb said it was a real match, and he lost points during the match, but he was okay with setting aside competition.

In a video provided by Joseph Bowers, the Dobson teen met his opponent after the match, and said he wasn’t able to communicate a lot, but was able to say ‘wrestling’, something they both understand.

“It's kind of hard for him to speak, but he was still able to say some words like wrestling, like for when we took the picture, they were like alright say ‘wrestling,’ and we both said it.

Queen Creek High School has been in touch with the opponent’s family, and they were willing to share the name of their wrestler who won — Cole Ludwig.

“We teach the kids a lot, the things you do in the room, and outside the room are always being looked at by somebody, and to have the morals and to kind of let your ego go, and just be okay with the fact that he’s going to go out there and wrestle to the best of his ability against the kid,” said Coach Allen. "It was a privilege as a coach to get a chance to coach somebody like him.”