SARATOGA, N.Y. (NEWS10)– When wrestlers hit the mats, they can’t let down even for a second. Shenendehowa High School wrestler Jesse Porter knows how to fight. But, he never expected he’d be fighting for his life.
Wrestling is a lifestyle for Jesse. He’s been hitting the mats since he was two because that’s what you do when you are a Porter.
“My whole family wrestles, my mom wrestles, both my sisters wrestle and my dad wrestles,” said Poter.
With that in his blood Porter excelled, making varsity as a 7th grader.
The future was bright for Porter but in his sophomore year he sustained an injury that not just threatened his wrestling career, but his life.
Porter says that while doing mock matches he stubbed his thumb nail, causing an infection which led his thumb to swell up.
“We went to the emergency room and they said without the antibiotics that I was taking I would have went into shock and died that night. I was really scared I thought that could have been the end,” said Porter.
The injury cost Porter the rest of his sophomore season. He returned as a junior and went on to win back to back sectional titles.
With his success, the college offers came in bundles.
For Porter, the decision was simple, “Nothern Michigan University is the only school in the U.S. that offers Greco-Roman and I can go right into Greco-Roman right after high school. I feel like this is the best fit for me.”
Greco-Roman is not the style he used in high school competitions but it’s the style he grew up under and trained with every summer.
It’s the training that he says will give him the best shot to be an Olympian, “The guys there are training to be on the Olympic team and some of the guys there, will be on the Olympic team next year.”
Because Northern Michigan competes internationally, Porter is on the fast track toward the U.S. National Team.
“I always shoot for the stars. I want to keep all my options open and get whatever I can so yes that is an option for me.”