Jusett Fralick triumphed in a wrestling match, and this was the best kind of triumph. A triumph that spread through a devoted, loving crowd.
His victory created an avalanche of joy for his Rampart High teammates, his coach and his family.
Fralick has cerebral palsy, but refuses to allow the condition to define him.
“People say I can’t do certain things because of my disability,” Jusett says with a smile. “I just want to prove them wrong sometimes.”
After Fralick’s victory in a December junior varsity match, he raised his fists and shouted with joy. His Rampart teammates were shouting, too.
Coach Rich Riley struggled to contain his happiness.
“It was an awesome moment,” Riley says. “It was a moment of seeing this kid conquer the world.”
The path to conquering began early. Jusett was born with a love of sports along with defiant sense of adventure. As a youngster he wanted, despite the effects of cerebral palsy on his left side, to compete in virtually every sport.
At first Jusett's mother, Rochelle Fralick, was scared as she and her husband, Chris, struggled with tough questions.
What was the best choice? Caution? Boldness? Well-meaning friends, and strangers, saw young Jusett competing and warned the Fralicks sports were too dangerous for their son.
The Fralicks didn’t listen.
They went with bold.
“We let him do what he wants to do,” Rochelle says. “The fear is there, but at the same time there’s nothing he can’t do if he sets his mind to it, until he’s shown he can’t do it.
“If he has interest in something we say, ‘OK, go ahead. We’ll support you.’ We said a lot of prayers and then said we wanted him to succeed in whatever he’s attempting to do.”
He tried soccer, baseball, hockey, basketball, swimming and football. As a junior at Rampart, he finally discovered wrestling. It was his best fit. Jusett is a fitness fanatic, and wrestling rewards fitness fanatics.
“I’m able to use my strength and some of my anger,” he says. “And it’s a challenge.”
Jusett’s wrestling days are almost over. The senior has two competitions next week. He plans to attend Pikes Peak Community College in the fall to prepare for a transfer to Northern Colorado, where he wants to study to become a physical trainer.
Coach Riley wishes he didn’t have to consider Fralick’s departure.
“I’m going to miss him a lot,” Riley says. “He just brings a lot to the room. His spirit. His effort. All year long we’ve heard from individuals telling us how inspirational it is to watch him wrestle.”
The inspiration continues.
Chris Fralick had to miss the December victory, but was there Saturday as his son walked on the mat for a match.
A couple of minutes later, Chris was shouting in celebration. Jusett had won, again. It was the first time father had shared victory with son.
As he watched Jusett celebrate, Chris returned to another moment of overwhelming joy. In 2004, Chris returned to Fort Campbell on the Kentucky/Tennessee border after a yearlong Army tour of Iraq. A throng of hundreds waited for the returning troops, and Chris searched the crowd for his son.
Chris finally saw Mike, his brother, holding Jusett on his shoulders.
“There was one other time I was that emotionally happy and that was when I came home from Iraq the first time,” Chris says. “Jusett’s faced a lot of difficulties. He’s faced a lot.”
Chris pauses as he returns to Saturday’s victory.
“He was so inspired.