The Wells High School Warriors wrestling team is used to winning, coming off back-to-back state championships in 2017 and 2018.
This year they’re motivated to do it again, but have found a new motivation.
Every practice, and every pin, means a great deal to coach Scott Lewia.
“It’s not like any other sport, it teaches you a lot about life, if you work hard good things are going to happen,” Lewia said.
He’s been coaching wrestling at Wells for more than 30 years, and is helping young men get more out of every win.
“It just feels great, and nothing that I didn’t expect, I just have really good kids, they care about each other and they care about others,” Lewia said.
And that includes 4-year-old Spencer Smith.
“He usually comes to our meets and cheers us on with us and it’s just awesome seeing him with his little chubby cheeks smiling at us,” senior Morgan Welch said.
Spencer has a rare and fatal illness, Sanfilippo syndrome.
It’s often referred to as “childhood Alzheimer’s” for the dementia it causes.
There is no treatment or cure.
“As soon as we found out, we knew that we would want to raise money,” senior Spencer Poulin said.
They started raising money last year, and a goal of $2,000, turned into $12,000.
This year the boys are at it again, getting sponsors to pledge donations for every win, and they’re selling shirts, all the proceeds going to the Cure Sanfilippo Foundation, funding research and clinical trials in Spencer’s name.
Nate Smith is Spencer’s dad, a Wells alumnus who wrestled for coach Lewia.
“It’s really truly amazing that he wanted to step up, me graduating 17 or 18 years ago, and wanted to do something, he really makes you feel part of a family,” Smith said.
This year, the team is trying to raise $15,000.