“I thought we got the red carpet treatment when we were there,” Manny Costa, Jared’s father and the St. John’s Prep wrestling coach, said. “We had our own private tour with the point guard of the basketball team taking us around. I thought the campus was beautiful and the coach met with us for an hour and you could tell he wanted Jared to come there. All the teachers we met, you could tell they catered to educating the students. Every person we passed knew (our tour guide’s) name; that’s what I like about it being a small school.”
Kelly sold the Costa’s on the school and his program, and they also liked the emphasis he put on education.
This spring, Kelly’s team took ninth place in the Division 2 Academic National Championship by recording one of the highest team grade point averages. The Spartans carried a 3.167 GPA last year.
Kelly is also an inspirational story. He was born with one foot and one hand that were only partially developed, later having his leg amputated below the knee. After two years of high school wrestling, Kelly went on to wrestle in college, eventually at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Jared and Manny Costa didn’t even learn about Kelly’s story until they looked him up after their meeting.
“I noticed he had a limp and looked it up afterwards,” Jared Costa said. “It’s one of the bigger points why I chose Anderson. He’s been through so much adversity and he’s been there and done it.”
Making an early decision is also something that Manny Costa feels will be beneficial to Jared, who is currently busy playing soccer for the Eagles.
“That’s what I wanted. We visited some schools in July and August and was hoping before soccer season he’d have it wrapped up,” Manny Costa said. “You can’t visit schools during soccer or wrestling, so then you’re into March, April or May to make a decision. I didn’t want him concerened.”