Former East Haven standout wrestler Jeffrey Fletcher is to be inducted into the East Haven High School Alumni Association Hall of Fame in November. The 1991 graduate had a career 78-16 record on the mat, as well as All-State and All-New England recognition.
"It feels really good. I'm glad that wrestling is on the map as far as sports in East Haven because it's a tougher sport than a lot of people think that it is," says Jeffrey. "When I got the All-State and All-New England honors, you see your name up on the banner and it's pretty cool because being a freshman, you see all these other sports with names. When I made it my senior year, it was a good feeling."
Jeffrey went undefeated during his junior and senior seasons and went back-to-back years as a Class Tournament runner-up as well as deep trips into the State Open and finished in sixth place in the New England Tournament during his senior season in the 112 weight class.
Also in his senior year, Jeffrey was the champion and MVP at the Doug Parker Invitational, the winner of the Danbury Holiday Tournament, and recognized by the national publication, "Who's Who in Sports 1990-'91" for Connecticut wrestling.
"My guidance counselor my freshman year, who also happened to be the first-year wrestling coach, Bob Murphy, got me into it. I was a wild, young freshman getting myself into situations to get me in trouble. He said 'Why don't you focus your energy and come out for wrestling?'" says Jeffrey. "I went and I wrestled him and he lit me up. He killed me. He said that's all legal and I said to sign me up."
From that point forward, Jeffrey turned the sport of wrestling into his passion. Although he was a member of the football team, the outdoor track team, and was a male cheerleader, none compared to wrestling and the amount of work that he put into it.
"What I would do, especially between my junior and senior year, was after practice, I'd go home, eat a healthy dinner, do my homework, spend time with my family or my girlfriend, and at 11:30 or 12 at night, I'd throw on my sweat clothes and my mom and dad would pour themselves a cup of coffee and throw their four-way signals on and they'd follow me," says Jeffrey of his conditioning. "I'd run from my house down on Laurel Street down to the town beach and sometimes back. I did that every night and I would get up in the morning, eat my breakfast, and run a mile in the morning. It was just dedication and being consistent in what I did."
With that, Jeffrey's head coach during the latter part of his wrestling career knew that he would outmatch his opponents in the stamina department.
"He was a maniac. I really prided our team on being in the best shape so I worked them into the ground," says former wrestling Head Coach Scott Sculte. "Jeff looked like he was already ready for more. You could see it in tournaments when you'd wrestle a few times in a day. He never dropped his energy. He always had that steady attacking mentality."
The induction into the Hall of Fame has given Jeffrey a chance to look back at his high school accomplishments and relish in what he had once done on the mat.
Says Jeffrey: "Looking back at it, it's hard to really comprehend that I did that that long ago. It's a good feeling and it's a great example that I show my son."
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