On the surface the test results weren’t all that positive, but it was exactly what Austin Reyher needed.
Until Tuesday’s match against Basha, the Mountain Pointe junior had a pretty impressive season going considering he was a bit of an unknown after an injury ended his sophomore season.
Reyher was 14-1 at 170 pounds and the lone loss was a match he was winning handily but got caught in a pinning combination.
“He’s been wrestling great and really getting after it,” Pride coach Darrick Kahle said. “We haven’t been in many tournaments yet so he’s probably a bit of an unknown. He needs to be tested.”
Step in Trey Ronayne, Basha’s defending state champion. He’s one of the state’s more technical wrestlers who is committed to Grand Canyon University and had an impressive third-place showing at the Reno Tournament of Champions over winter break.
So, yeah, Ronayne qualifies as a test for someone trying to gauge just how good they are at the mid-season point.
As expected Ronayne controlled the tempo of the match, building a 9-1 lead on four takedowns before securing a pin on bug hug that was as tight as a Boa constrictor’s death grip to secure the pin at 5 minutes and 2 seconds.
“I didn’t know much about him, but my coaches told me he was tough and had a good record,” Ronayne said. “I just go do my thing, but he was tough and he wasn’t someone who I just dominated. He made me work.”
Reyher got his chance to get back to his winning ways this weekend when the Pride headed to Apache Junction where he finished second.
He is just happy to be back on the mat after having his arm broken at the McClintock Invitational last year when he posted his left arm after being unable to finish a shot. Rayar and his opponent fell to the mat and his left arm got caught underneath them. It was nearly a compound fracture and left nerve damage in his hand.
“It was ugly,” Kahle said. “He was doing some good things as a young sophomore and then that happened. It nearly broke through the skin. It could have been tough to come back from, but he hasn’t shown any effects.”
Reyher, who is strong on his feet, said the injury just made him focus more.
“Right after that happened I was committed to keep wrestling,” said Reyher, who didn’t play football this year. “It was like four months (of rehab). It was difficult because of the nerve damage.
“I just really wanted to get into it and win. You don’t want to lose.”
Not only did he return, Reyher has become the team’s top wrestler and one of the captains for a program that features nine freshmen and sophomores in the lineup.
“He seems to be very focused and decided to be good at it,” Kahle said. “He wants to prove it to himself he can do it. He is quite the character. He’s always cracking jokes. I like him a lot and he’s a good team leader. It is nice to have him back next year.
“To come back from (the injury) and be our captain says a lot about the kid’s character.”
There is no questioning the resiliency and ability of Reyher, but can he become the first Pride state placer since 2010?
“My goal is to go to state and see what I can do,” he said. “That would mean the world to me. I want to show everyone I can do something.”
• Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.