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Wrestler vs. Injury

Rey+Valdez+winning+in+the+heartbreak+round+at+State+Wrestling%2C+2017.+
Rey Valdez winning in the heartbreak round at State Wrestling, 2017.

Rey Valdez winning in the heartbreak round at State Wrestling, 2017.

Rey Valdez winning in the heartbreak round at State Wrestling, 2017.

McKenna Romick, Staff writer

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Imagine wanting and working for something from the age of five, then being sidelined by an injury and having to watch your senior year fly by, not knowing if you’ll ever have another match on the mat. For Rey Valdez, a senior at Alliance High School, this nightmare became a reality.

Rey Valdez is one of the many amazing wrestlers that has come out on top from Alliance, falling in love with the sport at the young age of five. He wrestled both years in middle school and all four years in high school. His freshman year, he only wrestled half a season at weight 126, because in the middle of December, Rey left to go to his other home with his family to Mexico.

Many Hispanics from certain parts of Mexico that attend school in America have a family tradition to pack up and go to Mexico for Christmas and the New Year, Rey’s family is one who participate in that tradition.

During his sophomore year, Rey wrestled varsity at weight 132 where he lost in the heartbreak round of Class B districts. He came back the next year and made it to state as a junior, again losing, in the heartbreak round.

During the summer of Rey’s junior year, he was participating in off-season tournaments, where he was very successful and made it to AAU state tournament where he won and went off to Florida for the Disney Duals. He didn’t know that the honor to wrestle in Florida was actually going to be his worst nightmare. During his match at the Disney Duals, he tweaked his knee and fought through it the rest of the of the tournament.

He still went out for football in the fall of his senior year where his knee fully gave out, so his family took him to the doctor. The doctor ordered an MRI and sent Rey home until he received the results. When he went back to the doctor, the news was not good; a torn MCL, LCL, ACL, and two tears in his meniscus, all muscles and tendons in the same knee. They had many options as to when to have surgery, but they all decided that the sooner the surgery, the sooner he could get back on that mat.

“I had to have hope, but honestly, I thought I was done for good.” said Rey after he heard the news. Little did he know, he was not even close to being done. After surgery he fought one of his hardest fights; to have a fast, but healthy recovery.

Rey was cleared by his doctor to wrestle at the McCook Duals on January 27. “I was way stronger and I was ready to wrestle, but I was in complete shock when my doctor actually cleared me to start wrestling competitively again.”  

Knowing that this was his last year, Rey was motivated to never give up. With only having less than half of the amount of duels as the other wrestlers, he was determined to place at districts and that is exactly what he did. Not only did he place at districts in the weight class 145, but he pushed himself and placed second.

Next came state, an amazing experience for any wrestler and Rey’s most memorable. His senior wrestling season was an emotional rollercoaster for him, his family, and all his supporters.

Alliance is in the Class B district, so the boys started wrestling in the afternoon of the first day of state. Rey won his first round, but lost his second round forcing him have to wrestle back in the heartbreak round. During the heartbreak round, he wrestled an opponent from Lexington with a record of 29 and 10. Rey had one shot, if he won, he would get to go wrestle for third and fourth or fifth and sixth, but if he lost, he would be sent home without a medal. All the hard work paid off; he won the heartbreak round and his season wasn’t over yet. He lost the next round putting him the match for fifth or sixth. Losing his last match Rey medaled sixth in the weight class 145.

Even though Rey did not come home with a state championship, his sixth place medal was a huge victory. The fight back up to the top was something to be extremely proud of. As for next year Rey, is undecided on what school he would like to attend and what he would like to major in, but he is most likely going to attend Chadron State College.

 

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Wrestler vs. Injury