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The Underdog (Jay Sherer)



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Jay Sherer is not the most intimidating wrestler to ever attend Augustana College.

"You see those little legs that are about this big around and we're scared everytime he picks somebody up that it's gonna snap," said teammate Ty Copsey.

But he is one of just a handful in the school's history that can call himself a National Champion.

"He doesn't look like he should be on the mat," said Augie Head Wrestling Coach Jason Reitmeier.  "But he's extremely determined, very bright and he works his damn tail off every day."

Last season, Sherer had an up-and-down year.  He was ranked as high as second in the nation, and as low as 7th in his 141 pound weight class.  After qualifying for the National Tournament, he was pinned in the regional final, an unthinkable result for a contender.

"[Jason] Reitmeier said, 'You know what, throw all those rankings, just throw them away.  Go in there and wrestle one match at a time,'" Sherer explained.  "He goes, 'If you can do that, I'll guarantee you'll be a National Champ.'"

Round after round, match after match, Sherer found a way to outwork and outscore his opponents.

"We got to Nationals and he wrestled four of the smartest matches I've ever seen," said Reitmeier.  "Strategically he knew what he had to do."

In the championship match, Sherer took on Mario Morgan of Nebraska-Omaha.  After three periods, the two grapplers were tied at 1-1.  In overtime, Sherer scored on the first takedown of the match, clinching the national title.

"It was everything that I'd worked for since I was in 2nd grade," said Sherer.

"I wanted to cry, I wanted hug him.  It felt great," said Reitmeier.

Sherer said he enjoyed his title for about a week.  Then it was onto his next goal.

"You gotta defend it.  You gotta win another one next year," said the 141 pound champion.  "I also gotta push the other guys in the room, because I want to win a team title."

Who's gonna question Jay Sherer's goals now?  Certainly not anyone who has seen him wrestle.

"There's guys more talented than Jay," said Reitmeier.  "But I don't know if there's many people with more guile and more guts and stuff than Jay."

He may not be an intimidator, but his results speak for themselves.


Portions of video courtesy NCAA/CBS College Sports
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