(USA TODAY) Two high school wrestlers, facing off against each other for a Minnesota state championship, proved that compassion can surface in the heat of a competition.
Sophomores Mitchell McKee and Malik Stewart wrestled for the 120-pound state title on March 1.
For McKee, the tournament meant a lot since his father, who has been battling terminal cancer, was present in the audience.
"I prayed 'God help me win this match so I can go win a state title for my dad,'" McKee said.
McKee pinned Stewart down around 1:22 into the face-off, winning the match quickly. Then Stewart did something many competitors who recently lost a bout would not do.
He hugged McKee.
"I went over there and I shook his hand, embraced him a little bit, and told him to stay strong and everybody loves him," Stewart told KARE-TV. "I just did it straight from the heart," he added.
He then went over to embrace McKee's coaches and his dad. The audience gave Stewart a standing ovation.
"I went through the same thing when I was younger but my dad didn't pass by cancer," Stewart said.
McKee said Stewart's actions showed his sportsmanship.
"It was a really big match for him and to be able to hug my dad like that and not be mad and storm off like a lot of kids do," said McKee. "Really respectful."