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Berkley Grad Pins Down
Hall of Fame Honor
STEVE STEIN STAFF WRITER
hroughout her four years junior year because she wanted
at Berkley High School, to get in better shape for the soft-
Abbie Schwarzberg looked ball season in the spring. Her goal
for the "perfect" sport, one at the time was to be an All-State
she could pursue with her heart softball player.
"I did things like run and jump
She finally found it during the rope with the wrestlers," she said.
winter of her senior year. Believe "I thought about giving wrestling
it or not, it was wrestling.
a shot, but I never really consid-
In recognition of the courage ered it an option until a couple
and dedication Schwarzberg of the guys convinced me to try
needed to endure a full season out."
of competing against boys in
To her surprise, Schwarzberg
the rugged sport, the 18-year- earned a spot on the junior var-
old Huntington Woods resident sity team as a senior, beating an-
has been named the 1994 female other wrestler for the berth.
Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of
After starting the season in the
Fame High School Athlete of the 152-pound weight class, the 5-foot-
7 Schwarzberg decided to drop
down to 145. Her record for the
year was 5-18 and she ended up
finishing fourth in the Garden
City Invitational and in the South-
eastern Michigan Association
Schwarzberg had to deal with
occasional verbal taunts from op-
ponents and fellow Berkley stu-
dents and even ostracism from
some Berkley wrestlers. A con-
stant stream of media interview
requests, many of which she
turned down to avoid drawing
more attention to herself, made
her even more uncomfortable. But
Abide Schwarzberg: Hooked on wrestling. she persevered because she en-
joyed wrestling so much.
"To be honest, it helped a bit
Berkley football star Ryan
Fried and Bloomfield Hills An- that I was a senior and the stu-
dover tennis standout Jared dent council president and most
Miller share the male Athlete of of the other Berkley wrestlers
the Year award. The three win- were underclassmen," she said.
ners will be honored in Novem- "Everything worked out in the
ber at the annual Hall of Fame end. When the season was over, it
felt like I had 25 brothers."
Schwarzberg was so wrapped
"It's an honor to win an award
for my athletic achievements, but up by wrestling by this time that
what's more important is to be she quit the Berkley softball team
recognized for being a successful midway through her senior sea-
Jewish athlete. My religion is very son "because I couldn't devote 50
important to me," Schwarzberg percent to softball and 50 percent
said by telephone from Tempe, to wrestling," she said.
She traveled to the women's
Ariz., where she is a freshman at
freestyle wrestling national cham-
Arizona State University.
An aspiring politician, pionships and team trials in Las
Schwarzberg is not competing in Vegas and finished second. Since
any sports at Arizona State, but then, she's placed second in two
she is continuing her training for other national tournaments and
she was first in somba (a combi-
national wrestling meets.
Schwarzberg said she's hooked nation of wrestling and judo) in
on wrestling because victories and a national meet in Battle Creek.
Women's wrestling will be a
defeats depend solely on the in-
demonstration sport at the 2000
dividual, not on a team.
"Wrestling combines all the el- Summer Olympics. Four years lat-
ements I like from the other er, it will become a medal sport. If
sports I've played," she said. "You Schwarzberg is still involved in
must be physically fit, intelligent, wrestling then, she'd love to rep-
and you need to make quick de- resent the United States in the
cisions under pressure."
Besides wrestling at Berkley,
Schwarzberg actually began
working out with the Berkley Schwarzberg was a member of the
wrestlers during the winter of her girls swimming team for four
years. She also competed in soft-
ball, volleyball and gymnastics.
"I have no regrets about play-
ing all those sports because those
experiences gave me some great
people skills to use in my dealings
outside of athletics," Schwarzberg
Berkley faculty members
Roslynn Warren and Sharon Un-
derwood say they saw examples
of Schwarzberg's ability to get
along with people while she was
in high school.
"At the end of the
season, it felt like I
had 25 brothers."
"Abbie shows wonderful com-
passion toward others," Warren
said. "I watched her help, encour-
age and support many Berkley
students while she was here."
"Abbie is a friend to many and
she can converse easily with mem-
bers of both sexes," Underwood
said "She's a positive influence on
all who are around her."
Schwarzberg, a member of the
National Honor Society at
Berkley, graduated with a 3.4
grade-point average. In addition
to being junior class president and
then student council president,
she was the managing editor and
then editor-in-chief of the school
"I set academic and extra-cur-
ricular goals for myself in high
school and I achieved them, but
my most important accomplish-
ment was reaching those goals
while maintaining my Jewish
identity and schooling,"
The granddaughter of two
sets of Holocaust survivors,
Schwarzberg speaks fluent He-
brew. She attended Akiva Hebrew
Day School and Hillel Day School
before going to Berkley and she
was the student council president
of the Community Jewish High
School for two years. While at
Berkley, she was recreation chair-
woman for the Glazier BBG chap-
Schwarzberg was a member of
the Detroit Maccabi girls softball
team during the North American
Games in Detroit in 1990 and in
Baltimore in 1992. Cl