PHS’ Borchert a tough match

Junior wrestling up for Little Tigers

By: Justin Feil
   Will Borchert weighs in at 171 pounds before matches and eats his way up to 175 before wrestling, but that still leaves the Princeton High junior a good 15 pounds lighter than most of his 189-pound opponents.
   "It depends on the match," Borchert said. "But most guys have been between 185 and 189. The Lawrence and Hamilton guys, they were definitely big 189-pounders."
   Borchert, however, had all the counters for his opponents size Saturday. He started the day with a pin over Lawrence’s Brian Friedeborn in PHS’ 52-22 loss to the Cardinals, won a hard-fought 11-6 decision over Hamilton’s Jim Gramigna in the Little Tigers’ 39-24 loss and finished off his perfect day with a pin win over Allentown’s Bruce Allen in the Little Tigers’ 51-24 win.
   "I feel like I got lucky in the first one," Borchert said. "I pulled a quick counter and I got him on his back and was able to hold him. The second match was definitely tiring. That guy had all 18 pounds on me in muscle, but by the end he was tired. I’m known on the team for my endurance. That’s one of my characteristics. The last one was not as tough as the second one definitely, but he was a tough 171-pounder who had bumped up too."
   Heavier or lighter, opponents of Borchert are in for the unusual, and if it takes too long to figure out, the match could be over.
   "He’s unorthodox," said PHS head coach RaShone Johnson, whose team fell to 4-3 this season. "That’s why I have him wrestle the weight class he does. He’s unorthodox and he doesn’t care who he’s wrestling.
   "He’s a different type of kid. He doesn’t concern himself with who the kid is. He comes out with the same effort every time. Whether they’re state champ or state chump, he’s gong to give his best."
   Borchert wrestled for two years for The Hun School middle school team, broke his arm as a freshman football player at PHS and missed the wrestling season and returned last year to post a 6-7 record with four pins as a sophomore at 160 pounds. This year, he’s built off last season’s experience to establish a 6-1 start, including a 3-0 Saturday.
   "That’s been pretty much the best day I’ve had all year," said Borchert, who is a lineman for the football team in the fall and compete in track and field in the spring. "I’ve never competed in this big a meet before against this good of guys. Everything pulled together for me. Everything just seemed to click. I got my moves down. I can’t really describe it."
   It would be hard for anyone to figure out exactly how Borchert has become so good. Friedeborn, Gramigna and Allen probably are still trying to figure out what happened.
   "In situations, he moves the way you shouldn’t move and it works for him," Johnson said. "I’m going: ‘No! No! No!’ and then ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’ right after. He could be losing, 8-0, and find a way to pin the guy. He doesn’t stop trying for the pin. I think that helps."
   While other wrestlers are content with a pin, Borchert never stops shooting for a pin. He’ll have to continue that to give PHS a chance at Hightstown on Wednesday before another quad meet at home with visitors West Windsor-Plainsboro South, Steinert and Ewing. He’ll be guaranteed more matches there against bigger, stronger guys.
   "I try to survive the period and not get pinned quickly," Borchert said. "If I can outlast them, I can use my endurance and outlast them by the end. I’m definitely more comfortable though with guys my size."
   "He’s in great shape," Johnson noted. "He’s tall. He’s long, so he has the leverage game on his side as well. He’s gonna hang with me over the summer and get a little bigger. He’ll be all right. We’ll slap 15 pounds on him by next year. The goal is to have him playing football at 200 pounds or so and then he can cut down to 189. But if he was bigger, I’d throw him in at 215. He has the frame for it."
   And the mindset, regardless of whether its mat or gridiron.
   "He’s the same way in football," Johnson said. "He’ll just go. He throws his body around and doesn’t care."
   But it’s not all unbridled enthusiasm that has Borchert winning. He’s also picked up plenty in his second season of varsity wrestling.
   "I’m a lot better now," he said in comparison to his sophomore season. "My technical skill is a lot better. I’ve learned a lot more moves that I just wasn’t able to do last year."
   With that experience, Borchert is hoping to do some things that he wasn’t able to accomplish last season. He’d like to place in the Mercer County Tournament at the end of the month, and make it out of the district meet and, if he dares to dream, out of regions. He’d also like to see his team put together a nice winning stretch in the next week.
   "This team this year is one of the better teams we’ve had in a while," Borchert said. "We don’t have a 103 and a real set 275 guy. But we have a lot of really good guys who have been with the team a while and are pretty experienced.
   "I feel like I’m still learning," he added. "I’m still improving, but I’d say I’m experienced too."
   It means more of Princeton High’s opponents are finding out there’s a bigger wrestler than there looks to be in the Little Tigers’ Will Borchert.