Jersey wrestler shoots for No. 1
Saturday, December 15, 2007
BY MATTHEW FUTTERMAN
Star-Ledger Staff
Scott Winston just might be the best high school wrestler in the country, and he'll likely know for sure after this weekend.

Winston, 17, a senior at Jackson Memorial, has never lost in 101 high school matches. He has won the state championship at 152 pounds the past two years. (He broke his arm midway through his freshman season and missed the state tournament.)

"He's the most advanced high school wrestler I've ever seen, and he gets better every month," said Doug Withstandley, head wrestling coach at Jackson and a former star wrestler there and at Purdue.

"He has a certain mat savvy. He's always comfortable, no matter what position he's in. Plus, he's very strong, very agile and very fast."

A compact, package of muscle, Winston will wrestle at 160 this season, and he will need everything he has this weekend at the Beast of the East Tournament in Delaware, featuring the best high school wrestlers in the country, including teams from Pennsylvania, Ohio and Oklahoma.

"It's an incredible way to start the season," he said recently. "You've got to be at your best right from the beginning. I'm pumped for it."

Here is what else makes New Jersey's best wrestler tick.

Why wrestling?
My mother says I was a crazy kid when I was 4, so she signed me up for wrestling so I would have something to do with all that energy. I played football and baseball, but I love to wrestle. It's constant motion. There's no pauses.

Why 160?
It was tough to cut to 152 last year. I was up around 180 in the summer, and I put on a lot of muscle from lifting, so 160 was a more comfortable place.

Do you fear losing?
I lost in the dual nationals this summer wrestling for Team New Jersey. (That loss did not count against his high school record.)
It stunk. I trained so hard, and then I go out and I don't perform as well as I want to. It's a wake-up call. I've had them before. A loss can be beneficial.

Will you be nervous this weekend?
I always get butterflies, but then the whistle blows and you start to roll and you get into a good tumble with someone and the butterflies go away.

Is it hard to find someone to push you in practice?
I wrestle against my head coach here. Also, Frank Edgar, the UFC fighter at my club, Elite Wrestling. Also, at my other club in Wall, there's a coach there I can roll with.

Do you think you would have won the state championship as a freshman?
I'm confident I could have made the final against Dan Valmont, but he was pretty tough and a lot more experienced. It would have been a good match. You never know. But he is tough, tough as nails.

Do you miss food during the season?
That's the one thing I hate about the sport because I love food so much. I have such a passion for it, every type of food. If I wasn't a wrestler I would be so fat because I can eat such massive amounts of food. The other night I was at a Chinese buffet, and people were just amazed at how much I can eat. Crab legs, that's like my favorite food.

What happens after high school?
I'm going to Rutgers, and I'm hoping for big things in college, then maybe take a run at an Olympic team. You've got to have big dreams.