A Kentucky high school wrestler ended his prep career with a win Tuesday, but what makes Fairdale High School senior Willie Burton’s Senior Night victory special wasn’t the 6-4 score, but the fact that he arrived at it against the longest of odds.
Born with cerebral palsy, Burton has limited use of his legs and is unable to walk, getting around via wheelchair throughout the day. He’s been on the wrestling team at Fairdale for four years, and finally, in the last match of his career, he got his first win.
“They were tied 4-4 with like 10 seconds left in the match,” Fairdale coach Chris Boyd told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “Willie had a cradle locked in and he was pulling back on the cradle and finally pulled it back enough and got two points right before the buzzer. It was awesome.”
After the referee raised his hand and his opponent — Pleasure Ridge Park’s Sydney Smith — congratulated him, Burton crawled out of the circle and was mobbed by his teammates, who started a dogpile on the mat. Not a bad way to go out.
“When he won, I don’t think it had even sunk in yet,” Boyd told the Courier-Journal. “But it was amazing. The gym was electric.”