Stephen Adamecz hit a milestone last week, and seemingly he was the last one to know it.
A senior wrestler at Newman, Adamecz was competing at the St. Thomas More New Year's Challenge in Champaign. He went 4-0 the first day of the competition, on Dec. 28, then opened the next day with a pin of Bismarck-Henning's Dallas Messamore in a 145-pound bout.
It was the 100th career win for Adamecz, a 4-year fixture in the Comets' lineup. When there was a bit more of a stir in the stands than after a normal bout, he figured something was up.
"It was a really neat experience," Adamecz said. "After I got up in the stands, back with all my family, friends and fans, they were all congratulating me. I didn't even know it was my 100th win until I went up there.
"The cool thing about Newman, if I was anywhere else, i don't know if I'd have those 100 wins."
Adamecz posted records of 27-14 as a freshman, 32-13 as a sophomore and 31-13 as a junior – extraordinary numbers for an athlete who began his wrestling career with modest expectations. He was successful though hard work, according to head coach Steve Davis.
"He's never been the strongest or the most gifted," Davis said. "He just works hard at his craft, and he's made himself an excellent wrestler."
Davis noted Adamecz is equally adept on his feet and on the mat, but it's riding that often sets up his best move.
"When he's riding, he's going to look for his cradle," Davis said. "He's put a lot of kids away with the cradle. I'd say that's probably his signature move, and I'm not giving anything away. Everybody knows that."
When asked about the secret to his success, Adamecz was quick to answer it was due to his countless hours duking it out with teammates in the sweatbox that is the Newman wrestling room. One minute, he's working on takedowns with Brandon Ahlgrim. The next, he's trying to fend off two-time state champion Brian Bahrs.
Whatever he faces in bouts often pales in comparison to what he sees in his own room.
"Any match we take into the third period, we definitely win," Adamecz said. "We've had a lot of success, and having those successful wrestlers down there, it breeds success. That's what that room does."
The 2011-12 season was a breakthrough for Adamecz in that he earned his first state tournament berth. It was a short run in Champaign, however, as he lost in the preliminary round at 138 pounds, 1-0 to Walther Lutheran's Maurice Wilson, and didn't wrestle again.
He's planning on a return trip to Champaign next month.
"I want to take my last year as far as I can take it," Adamecz said. "I've got a lot more confidence this year. Every match brings me closer."
Wrestlers failing in their first trip to state is nothing new, but if Adamecz makes his way back this season, Davis is confident he'll perform much differently.
"He could have made some noise last year, but it was his first time," Davis said. "I just don't think he thought he could win. He was in there, and he was confident enough to go out there and wrestle hard. This year, he thinks he deserves to win. It's that little switch that he's turned. He'll definitely make some noise this year."
As for Adamecz's future, he'll attend Northern Illinois University in the fall, and he's already got a jump on his career. When he turned 17, he enlisted in the national guard and signed an 8-year contract. He plans to major in biology and pursue a career in the medical field.
"When I enlisted, I took my test and scored high enough to where I could become a combat medic," Adamecz said. "I knew that's what I wanted to do."
FYI: Recently won his 100th bout as member of wrestling team. ... State qualifier in 2011-12 season. ... Also competes in football and track. ... Will attend NIU in the fall