An Athlete All But Born To Wrestle Paulsboro's Matt Suter Started Winning At The Age Of 4. He Hasn't Stopped.

Posted: January 04, 1993

Matt Suter's initiation into wrestling didn't take much time.

"Ever since I learned how to walk, my brothers had me in a wrestling stance," the Paulsboro senior said. "I always had an advantage over other kids my age because I started so early."

Ever since Suter stepped onto a mat in formal competition at age 4 for the Paulsboro bantam team, he has rung up impressive numbers, which have carried right into his scholastic career.

In just over three seasons at Paulsboro, he has:

* Compiled a career record of 109-7-1. He is closing in on the state record of 133 career victories, held by Ocean City's Patrick Lynch in a career that ended in 1991.

* Captured a state championship at 145 pounds as a sophomore, going 37-0.

* Finished second in the state at 145 as a junior with a mark of 35-1. He also placed sixth in the state at 145 as a freshman with a record of 30-6-1.

* Won three straight Region 8 titles and three straight District 29 championships at various weights.

* Led the Red Raiders to Group 1 state championships and Colonial Conference titles in each of his three varsity seasons.

This winter, Suter's numbers are every bit as impressive. At 160 pounds, he is 7-0, with individual championships at the Caldwell Tournament and Deep Creek (Va.) Tournament.

His goals are to help the Raiders repeat as league and state champions, and to win another individual state crown.

Those goals have been tempered, however, by last season's state championship final, in which Suter dropped a close decision to Overbrook's Kip Covington at Atlantic City's Convention Hall.

The loss shattered a season of great accomplishment for Suter, who was expected to win his second straight state crown with ease.

"It took me about a month to get over the loss, but it had to be put aside," Suter said. "I was disappointed, obviously, but I had to get on with my career. As a freshman, I wanted to become the first wrestler in New Jersey to win four state championships, and I was disappointed when I lost in the state semis. Then, the loss to Covington was even harder to accept.

"But it ended up giving me more determination to work harder and become a better wrestler this year as a senior. And my goal is for my senior year to be my best ever."

Paulsboro coach Paul Morina believes that Suter is on track to make his senior year a memorable one.

"Maybe that loss to Covington helped him," Morina said. "Matt looks more focused this year than ever. He is just a great wrestler who will do anything to help us win."

Suter comes from one of South Jersey's prominent wrestling families - all four of his older brothers won regional championships for Paulsboro - so staying focused within his sport comes naturally.

Jason Suter also won a state championship, taking the 158-pound title and earning outstanding-wrestler honors as a Paulsboro senior in 1986. Fred Suter won a Region 8 championship in 1982. Tim Suter did so in 1980, and Jack Suter did the same in 1971.

While his brothers have offered plenty of advice and encouragement, Matt Suter works hard year-round on his technique. He trains at some of the area's top wrestling facilities and takes part in national AAU freestyle competition during the summer. Last summer, he finished third in the nation at 154 pounds at the National AAU Championships in Minneapolis.

"I take one month off at the end of the high school season, but that's it," Suter said. "The summer competition is important so I can work on my technique and wrestle against athletes from all over the country. It's a great experience that's prepared me well for the high school season."

Equally important to Suter is his success in the classroom. He has a 94.0

average and ranks sixth in his class. He is a member of the National Honor Society, and hopes to enter a premed program in college.

Colleges have been knocking at his door frequently, thanks to his academic and wrestling success. Suter has narrowed his list to North Carolina State, Iowa State, Indiana, Lehigh, Penn State and Wisconsin.

"You go to college for an education, and that will always be my primary focus," Suter said. "I hope to major in biology and get into a premed program. This is what I've wanted all my life."

Suter said that he has never attempted to hold down a part-time job while in high school because it would interfere with his wrestling and schoolwork.

"You can only do so much," he said, "and my grades and my wrestling need my full-time attention."

FAST FACT

The 13 individuals with the most victories in South Jersey wrestling history:

133: Patrick Lynch, Ocean City

125: Joe Melchiore, Highland

122: John Martin, Absegami

121: Larry DeVault, Paulsboro

119: Charles Moorer, Penns Grove

117: Nate Lashley, Delran

116: Chee Santone, Lenape

115: Bob Aceto, Highland

114: Brett DiNovi, Williamstown

113: Jason Suter, Paulsboro

111: Bob Malatesta, St. Augustine

111: Gino Gumarello, Highland

109: Matt Suter, Paulsboro

|
|
|
|
|