Wrestlers suffer injury, prepare for districts

Kaitlyn Marsh

junior Quinn Smith struggles to force his opponent onto his back. Photo by Patrick Smith
junior Quinn Smith struggles to force his opponent onto his back. Photo by Patrick Smith

The body of a wrestler is that of great intensity. The sport itself being founded purely on human stamina and strength, these athletes must endure a rigorous process to keep up with the competition as well as staying in it.

With the anxiety of the district meet looming in the first days of February, the Bruin wrestling team prepared and experienced many trials throughout the season. As a result, these past several weeks have not been all this lineup hoped for, Assistant Coach Joe Collier said.

“We are a little underachieving just because the wrestlers expect so much of themselves coming in [to the season],” Collier said. “One of our guys in particular, [junior] Sam Crane, won state, so although he is having a great season, due to injuries, the other guys are not performing or have not liked the way they performed so far.”

Unfortunately, these injuries have not been few. Wrestlers commonly experience sprains and strains because of fatigue or strenuous positions on the mat, but this year has been unusual in the number and severity of injuries, senior Kyle Johnston said.

“We really haven’t lived up to what we did last year yet because of injuries and just not performing when we needed to,” Johnston said. Junior “Quinn Smith [was] out … because he burst his bursa sac in his right knee and Cody Maly who is also a junior had labrum surgery on his shoulders last year, and those have been problematic for him.”

Despite the setbacks that might have restricted performances for some, the rest of the team has taken on the responsibility to work harder with the absence of a few varsity members.

As a result, making weight and participating in matches was that much more imperative. In order to stay in designated classes, these athletes have to constantly monitor food and liquid consumption as well as staying physically fit. If wrestlers don’t make their weight class, they have to forfeit a match and sit out of a meet.

“Keeping our weight down is really hard because over the summer all you do is try to bulk up and during the season you have to cut down … a lot just so you can make weight,” Johnston said. “In wrestling, the point is to get the biggest frame into the smallest weight so you can be the strongest guy at that weight, and that usually translates into skill and being better.”

If wrestlers do not make weight or are not within a pound of their categorized weight class the day of competitions, the consequences can be torturous for the team members, Johnston said.

In addition to depriving their bodies of food and liquids all day, some even have to dress in layers and run laps to sweat the excess weight off in the hours before weigh-ins at matches.

“Eating really isn’t that bad, it’s the drinking water,” Johnston said. “It’s really hard because …when you drink [water] you gain a lot more weight than if you would eat something and you’re really thirsty because you have drained your body of all of its liquids. [Wrestlers are] usually always dehydrated.”

Although the Bruins have been through quite a process to continue the season, the wrestlers are ready to take on the postseason with continued practice and intensity, sophomore Graham Ratterman said.

“We’ve worked on making ourselves hard to score on, staying in good position and focused on winning close matches,” Ratterman said. “Having a lot of solid guys in the room who are all good training partners really pushes everyone … everyone just keeps improving.”

After a satisfactory eighth place finish at last year’s state competition, the varsity lineup has established their own goals for the 2013 season, Collier said. With hopes for a promising outcome, the team prepares for the state championships, Feb. 14 and 15 at the Hearnes Center.

“This is the best time to get healthy, and we are getting healthy right now [in] January and February,” Collier said. “Our goal this year is to place at state and place at districts. It’s an attainable goal but we have some good wrestlers that are just now starting to get healthy. … I think they can do it. They work hard enough for it and they deserve it.”

By Kaitlyn Marsh