As Corey Fischer attempted a move on top of his opponent in the regional wrestling semifinals last week, he tasted the blood that trickled down his face from above his left eye.
"I got a little worried when [the trainer] said I might need stitches," said the West Deptford 160-pounder, who isn't sure how he suffered the injury.
But that wasn't the case for the junior. West Deptford's trainers patched up the wound during a blood timeout. Fischer, who was nearly disqualified from the match, then beat Paul VI senior John Donegan, 11-2.
Fischer wore a face guard to cover the gash in the Region 7 final against Rancocas Valley senior Daequan Jackson-Swoope, but he took it off 14 seconds into the match because it affected his vision and Jackson-Swoope kept slapping it.
Fischer, who has a 36-1 record, won the match, 5-2, to become the regional champion despite not wrestling at 100 percent. He will continue his run at an NJSIAA state championship on Friday in Atlantic City.
"I've had to wear [face guards] before and they are very uncomfortable," said coach Nick Iraldi, who wrestled at West Deptford from 2006-10. "For a regional finals match, you want him to be as comfortable as possible."
Iraldi said Fischer wrestles with a hard-nose style that can sometimes result in injuries because he likes to lead with his head. Fischer developed this style from growing up with two older brothers who wrestled, Iraldi added.
Fischer's brothers, Dylan and Mark, wrestled at West Deptford.
When the three were younger, Dylan Fischer said Corey usually got beaten up going against his older brothers. But that changed during Corey's sophomore season at West Deptford.
Last season when Dylan was a senior, he practiced against Corey every day. Sometimes the match would get so competitive they had to be separated by the coaches.
"It toughened me up," Corey said. "I learned how to roll with the punches."
Corey and Dylan Fischer each made it to states last season, but neither of them placed. Dylan holds West Deptford's record for victories with 120.
Even though he wrestled in only nine matches in his freshman year because of a torn labrum, Corey Fischer has a chance to break his brother's record with 76 career wins.
But Dylan isn't concerned about the record. He'll be in Atlantic City this weekend, cheering him on to bring home his family's first state title. "I'm all for him breaking the record," Dylan said. "I want to see him do everything that I couldn't."
At Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City.
Round of 32, 2:30 p.m.
Round of 16 to follow.
Wrestle-backs, 9 a.m.
Quarterfinals, 12:30 p.m.
Semifinals, 6 p.m.
Wrestle-backs to follow.
Wrestle-backs, 10 a.m.
3rd-, 5th-, 7th-place consolations to follow.