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Even in death, high school wrestler's spirit serves his team

Princeton High School

John Harris, who wrestled for Princeton High School in suburban Cincinnati, continues to lend his support to his program long after his murder nearly a decade ago ... thanks to fundraisers for his alma mater in his name.

A journeyman plumber and father of three, Harris was murdered during a carjacking near his home in Northside within the city of Cincinnati in June 2007. The criminals have yet to be caught.

Ever since that crime, John's mother Peggy Harris has spent every day searching for justice and comforting other mothers with the Who Killed Our Kids organization. She has also been active in generating support for the sport at her son's high school.

A 2001 graduate of Princeton High, John Harris was a standout wrestler for the Vikings, and named team captain his senior year. Even after graduation, he was a part of the program coaching kids both on and off the mats.

For the past two years, John's mother Peggy Harris has held a number of fundraisers in her son's memory to help the Viking wrestling program that meant so much to her son ... providing opportunities for young student-athletes who might not otherwise be able to participate.

"I know he loved wrestling, so let's do this, let's give back to the wrestling program," Peggy Harris told WKRC-TV, the CBS affiliate in Cincinnati. "It's fulfilling, it's more joyous than being hurt all the time in so much pain."

"After years of being drawn in trying to wondering who murdered Johnny it was eating me up because we still don't have any closure," said Harris. "I was getting overwhelmed with it."

But wrestling is helping her with that loss, the same way the sport helped her son years ago.

Peggy Harris' latest fundraiser for the Viking wrestling program took place Saturday night, at the Sharonville Convention Center, just up the street from Princeton High. Some of the money collected that night will go towards hotel costs for the team's first away meet in Columbus.

"This is a good night, great night, said Charles Mason, an assistant wrestling coach at Princeton. "Getting good people together, good souls together to celebrate the life of a fallen Viking."

For more information on the Princeton wrestling program and how you can help, visit the team's Facebook page.

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