Raleigh, NC --
Chris Jaeger wrestles and excels academically in his school. His physical, mental and moral strength was built during four years of high school and now he has added the icing to the cake in his latest wrestling excursion.
Jaeger, a senior from Chatham Central High School in Bear Creek, N.C., won the North Carolina 1A Wrestling State Championship in the 138-pound weight class. He defeated Kade Guffey, from Robbinsville High School in Robbinsville, N.C., during the state championship tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C., Feb. 22.
Jaeger, from Bear Creek, N.C., has been wrestling since 2008 and has been to the state championship tournament two other times, once as a freshman and again as a sophomore. It was on his third trip that he finally won the whole thing.
“I figured I have been here before so I had a good chance of winning this year,” said Jaeger. “If I had not won I would have been very disappointed. I had watched the other guys wrestle and I knew I could beat them.”
His athleticism does not stop at wrestling; he is also a cross country runner and participates in track and field. He is as great in the classroom as he is on the mats; he takes multiple advanced placement classes and has a weighted GPA of over 4.3.
Another thing that sets Jaeger apart is that he joined the Marine Corps.
“I chose the Marine Corps because it seemed like the best,” said Jaeger.
Jaeger enlisted in the Marine Corps in October 2013 and will ship to recruit training in August 2014. He has accepted an infantry contract and hopes to become a reconnaissance Marine.
“Everyone looks up to him,” said Staff Sgt. Samuel E. Petry, a recruiter with Recruiting Substation Aberdeen, Marine Corps Recruiting Station Raleigh, who recruited Jaeger. “He is a quiet leader who leads by example. He does what he does and everyone follows him.”
His athleticism in school has placed him above the rest in the pool. He has a perfect score on the initial strength test and is consistently leading the pack in physical training. All of this has not affected Jaeger’s humility; Petry says he did not know Jaeger had won the championship until he read it in the paper a few days later.
“He is a great kid,” said Petry. “I brag on him all the time.”
Jaeger’s next big obstacle will be the National High School Championship, which will be held in Virginia Beach, Va., March 27 to 30. He will wrestle in a 64-man bracket for the chance to be the best wrestler in the nation but says that his goal is to be, at least, one of the top eight.
“I looked at the state championship as a stepping stone to nationals,” said Jaeger.
Jaeger has not currently received any offers to wrestle in college but says that if they did come, he would not turn away from the Marine Corps.
“I feel like it is my duty to serve,” said Jaeger.
He says that his parents instilled the sense of duty into him and were very proud when he enlisted in the Marine Corps and when he won the state championship.
He says he does not plan on making the Marine Corps a career, but he would like to serve four years and then attend college.
“I’m looking forward to Marine Corps life,” said Jaeger. “It is going to be a great few years.”