Diet of work drives Fetchet to success

Published Jan 14, 2014 at 3:18 pm (Updated Jan 14, 2014 at 3:18 pm)

Work and diet are four-letter words you will find in Grant Fetchet’s vocabulary.

Labor is something the South Fayette senior has done all his life. In fact, his father already had him doing jumping jacks at 7 to stay fit. And, as a wrestler, he is always managing his weight.

“I love food,” said the 18-year-old son of Donna and John Fetchet. “I’m the guy who eats heaping plates full of food then goes back for seconds and thirds. If you put food in front of me, I’ll eat it.

“The holidays were wonderful,” he continued. “I ate all this delicious food and whenever I played football, I could eat all I wanted. Now, with wrestling, you have to change your style, eat smaller meals and portions of all the right foods that are good for you.”

Deny, another of those four-letter terms, seeps into his lexicon these days, too. Just a few days ago, Fetchet rummaged through the refrigerator and spied half a pumpkin pie. “You can’t have that,” his mother warned. “Put that back.”

Disappointed, indeed, that he could not taste his favorite treat, Fetchet explained, “I couldn’t just eat one bit. I would have had to have two or three pieces.”

Fetchet disciplines himself for two reasons. One, he wants to become a champion and two, he wants his South Fayette wrestling team to be a winner, too. The Lions are ranked No. 2 in Class AA, behind Burrell, which is chasing its ninth straight WPIAL title. Fetchet, who is the top-ranked wrestler in the 160-pound weight class, could drop to 152 for the team tournament.

Part of Fetchet’s reluctance is his training and his recent extended football season. While the wrestling season began in mid-November, Fetchet and the Lions were still playing football, capturing a WPIAL championship as well as a state title back on Dec. 15.

For both sports, Fetchet trained with Paul Recrosio and the company he’s created along with his wife, Lisa. ETW is explosive training for wrestling. Previous state champions such as Nick Carr from South Fayette and MacKenzie McGuire from Upper St. Clair as well as current grappler, Kellan Stout from Mt. Lebanon, have endorsed the weightlifting program. Fetchet has worked with Recrosio since seventh grade.

“He’s a great guy. He knows what he is doing,” Fetchet said.

“I do (ETW) for both football and wrestling. All the movements are natural to the sports. For example, running the football, gives you that extra kick in your gear or for wrestling when you are shooting for that double-leg, that explosiveness you need in your hips. It really helps. It’s probably the most beneficiall thing I do.”

One cannot argue with the results.

During the fall, Fetchet rushed for a team-high 1,389 yards and 21 touchdowns as the Lions roared through a 16-0 season. In his grid career, Fetchet has participated in two state finals, captured two district championships and clinched three conference championships.

In wrestling, Fetchet is 12-0 during this compressed season. He recently eclipsed 100 victories for his career. At 109-40 overall, he is on pace to shatter the school record of 128 victories set by Carr back in 2011.

“I’m happy to have 100 wins but it’s just a milestone,” Fetchet said. “It’s a stepping stone that hopefully will lead to a WPIAL and a place at states. Absolutely, I have bigger goals a ahead.”

The push to win

To achieve his every aspiration, Fetchet says takes devotion, in the practice room and other places, like the conditioning work and lifting. “You have to make sure you are focused. Keep your eye on the prize, dial it in and be willing to do whatever it takes until March 8.”

Since he put on a singlet in kindergarten and strapped on shoulder pads in first grade, Fetchet had adopted his parents’ work ethic. His father was a Golden Golve boxing champion out of Youngstown, Ohio. He boxed until he was 18 then went to Duquense University. His mother worked her way through Georgetown.

“When I was 7, my dad had us doing calisthenics. He pushed us,” Fetchet said of himself and his brother, Mike, who wrestles at Columbia. “Dad taught us how to grind and work hard. He uses phrases like ‘fire in the belly’ and you have to have the will to go out and work hard and get the job done.

“My parents taught us to work for everything we wanted. They worked for everything that they have gotten. They said that we’d be a better person for it. They told us nobody is going to hand anything to you. So, what it comes down to is who does the work. Who has the stronger work ethic,” Fetchet continued. “I am always, always willing to put the time in and the work into whatever it is.”

Rick Chaussard knows that to be true firsthand. He is Fetchet’s wrestling coach. When he thinks of his senior grappler, Chaussard says that his work ethic is the first thing that comes to mind.

“Grant works very hard at every practice. He’s always asking questions and trying to better himself. His work ethic, dedication and striving to be the best is what makes him successful.

“Grant is a very dedicated and respectful young man. Whatever he sets out to do, you will get his very best weather its work, school, sports or life in general.”

Fetchet’s example rubs off on others, adds Chaussard. “By doing what he does, Grant makes every one else around him better. It has showed on the mat and on the football field.”

His desire to win makes all the difference. Before his athletic career is over at South Fayette, Fetchet once to go out on top in wrestling as he did in football. But, he understands full well that he must earn his titles.

“It’s like in football, too, nobody wanted to hand us a championship. In wrestling, that’s a given, too. No one hands you a victory. Whatever sports or school, all display a work ethic. You have to have it. You have to be willing to put the time and work into being successful.”

While the Lions have one eye on Burrell, they have not dismissed contenders such as Jefferson-Morgan, Burgettstown and others. Likewise, Fetchet regards his individual opponents such as Ryan Zalar from Jeff-Morgan, Jake McKee from Burgettstown and Pete Provenzano from Chartiers-Houston with respect.

Regarding the team tournament, Fetchet said. “We have have to make sure that everybody does their parts as well as me. Stay foucesd,” he said. “There are a lot of other teams out there too who want to be champions. You can’t get high-headed or overlook anybody in this sport. You have to stay focused, work hard and be ready to go.

Regarding his own individual competition, Fetchet said, “there are many top-notch kids. I know Ryan (Zalar) is a strong, tough, hard-nosed kid. I’ve only heard good things about him. I’m just happy to be able to wrestle and go out and face good competition but nothing scares me.”

Fetchet gained that attitude thanks to the successful football season. Often, during the 2013 campaign, the Lions were the underdog, pitting against bigger, more talented, higher-recruited players. Yet, South Fayette prevailed to beat Aliquippa, 34-28, in the WPIAL title tilt at Heinz Field and destroyed Imhotep Charter, 41-0, in the state final.

“Win a championship and knowing how to win will help out the wrestling team,” Fetchet said, then noted that many football players also wrestle. “Most of us understand what it takes and how to win. There is a feeling you get and a hunger you have. Plus, we all went through the experience of the rankings. Someone’s always messing around with them and it’s somebody’s opinion. But you know where your strengths are and because of the work you put into it.”

All the work Fetchet has put into his athletics has opened doors for his to pursue his dreams of becoming a dentist but also brings a sense of melancholy as his scholastic career nears its conclusion. Fetchet has scholarship offers to compete in either football or wrestling. Top-notch educational schools such as Columbia are interested in his wrestling abilities. Washington & Jefferson College, John Carroll, Westminster, Rochester and Allegheny, have expressed interest in his football gifts.

“I love them both so much,” Fetchet said of wrestling and football. “When it comes to choosing for college, it’s going to tear me apart. I wish I could do both but that would just be insane.”

Crazy has been his senior year of school. While South Fayette marched to its first-ever state title in football, Fetchet pulled down a near 4.0 in the classroom. He maintains a 3.7 GPA. He is now immersed in his wrestling and the knowledge that it all ends March 8 for his sporting activities and in June for his studies.

“I am going to miss it so much,” he said. “Just the other night, I was watching our highlight film and thinking how I am going to miss all the simple things. The guys. The coaches. The practices. Being yelled at because the coaches only wanted us to be better. Training camp.

“All these memories have contributed to this. Even if I do play again, it won’t be the same thing. There is nothing like high school football. It won’t be with the same guys. Every Friday. Pasta dinners. My routine. Hour nap. Go play football. Going out with my friends and playing ball. Football is not like any other sport. The bonds that you create are not like any other you have in any other sport.

“In wrestling, you have friends everywhere. Everyone is beating up on each other. There’s a bond there, too. All the kids are devoted. But everybody, not matter what, wants to go out on top. I’ve been fortunate to do that and I’d love to do again.”

Grant Fetchet file

School: South Fayette

Year: Senior

Sports: Wrestling, football

Age: 18

Parents: Donna and John

Siblings: Mike, a freshman wrestler at Columbia University; Michayla, a sophomore who plays basketball, volleyball and softball at South Fayette.

Being a middle child is: “Actually great,” he said. “I like it because you get a sense of what it would be like to be the older brother. As the younger brother, I looked up to (Mike) and watched how he made the right decisions and that helps me in what I want to do. It helps and guides me in sports and everything. I hope I can pass that along to my younger sister. What to do in certain situations, whether it’s the big, big game or in school.”

GPA: 3.7

College choices: W&J, John Carroll, Westminster, Rochester, Allegheny, for football. Top-notch educational schools such as Columbia, for wrestling.

College major: Biology

Career choice: Denistry, eventually specializing in orthodonics. In second grade, Fetchet was involved in a sever sledding accident. He broke his nose and smashed his teeth. “I always prided myself on having a white smile but now it was all messed up. Not perfect,” he said. But, Dr. Eric Reitz, who works out of Pinebridge Commons in Upper St. Clair saved and straightened Fetchet’s teeth. “Not having a great smile hurt my confidence. It’s amazing what they are able to do now. That accident completely changed my life as a whole. Know even being a dentist is the direction I want to take for a career.”

Favorite vegetable: steamed broccoli or zucchini

Fruit: Blueberry

Favorite food: Filet mignon

Dessert: Pumpkin pie

Best book: “The Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen.

Favorite color: Green.

Place you want to visit: Italy.

Favorite athlete: Seattle Seahawks Marshawn Lynch and U.S. Olympic wrestler Jordan Burroughs

Who you would love to have dinner with? My family. We’d eat a home-cooked meal by my grandma.

People might be surprised to know this about you: In addition to being creative—drawing, pottery, woodcarving— Fetchet loves nature. “I love bow hunting,” he added. “Hunting calms me. It’s relaxing. Even if you don’t bag anything, then at least you are away from all the white noise. You can sit outside with nature and contemplate the world. Not only is it calming and peaceful, it’s competitive at that same time because you strategize and try to figure out how to win a trophy.”

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