SUMMERVILLE - Even though the typical match lasts no more than six minutes, wrestling is intense, demanding, and physically and emotionally draining.
It also can be excruciatingly painful if you injure your shoulder during a match. Just ask Summerville's Julian Gibbs.
Gibbs injured his shoulder on the first takedown of his match Saturday against Lexington's Aaron Austin during the Class AAAA Lower State championship. Less than a minute had slipped off the clock in the 220-pound showdown when Gibbs went down the wrong way. The crowd went hush, Gibbs grabbed his right shoulder and coach Daryl Tucker ran out to check if Gibbs' collarbone was going to cost his grappler the match.
"The first thing I wanted to make sure was that it wasn't broken," Tucker said. "Then I wanted to give him enough time to recover. I knew once he was back on the mat, things would work out."
Gibbs sustained, survived and posted a 1-0 victory over Austin. It was efforts and gut checks like that that gave the Green Wave a 33-20 victory over the Wildcats and a berth in the state championship.
The weather wreaked havoc on the wrestling schedule. Saturday was scheduled to be the state championship, but winter storms knocked the schedule off course. Northwestern and Hillcrest won't wrestle for the Upper State championship until Monday, and the state match will be held either Tuesday or Wednesday at a neutral site, Tucker said.
Gibbs, who won his division, spent the rest of the match with an ice bag on his right shoulder, pacing along the sideline with the rest of his teammates. But in the end, the crowd was chanting "Green Wave" as the team dreamed of yet another state title.
Gibbs' status might be uncertain.
"I have to go to the doctor to find out what's wrong," Gibbs said. "I landed sideways on my collarbone when he planted me. At first, I didn't know if I could continue. But I knew I had to suck it up for my teammates. I knew I had to pull it out for the team. I'm glad my hard work paid off. I'm just glad we get to go to the state championship and compete for a state title."
It was a night of emotion and momentum swings as a big crowd gathered in the Summerville gym. Devin Kicklighter won in the heavyweight division, Ngai Murray recorded a pin at 106 and James Sass won at 113 to give the Green Wave a 21-7 lead. The Wildcats, though, rallied with a victory by Brennan Shealy at 120, a pin by Jackson Myers in 126 and a major decision by Andy Szalwinski in 132 to cut the Green Wave's lead to 21-20.
But Robert English won a grueling match in 138 and Daniel Smith won in 145 to give the Green Wave the Lower State crown.
"I don't know who we play yet," Tucker said. "But either way, we will have our hands full."
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