The Franklin News-Post|
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310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
|Clingenpeel is making up for lost time|
Franklin County’s Ryan Clingenpeel (top) controls his Tunstall opponent during a bout from last month’s Spencer Chang Duals at Martinsville Middle School. The Eagles will host the Western Valley District’s postseason championship tournament Saturday at Samuel M. Hawkins-Central Gymnasium. (Staff Photo by Steven Marsh)
Friday, February 1, 2013
By STEVEN MARSH - Sports Editor
Ryan Clingenpeel's senior season on the mat has been one where circumstance has forced him to make up for lost time.
He's trying to get a season and a half out of one and thus far it's been a reversal of fortune campaign.
Clingenpeel has already finished undefeated at the Virginia Duals and last weekend, he captured the 126-pound weight class championship at the Big Orange. Saturday, he begins a march toward what he hopes will be a return to the Group AAA state championships in the Western Valley District tournament.
Franklin County, which seeks its 26th consecutive district championship and a sweep of all 12 titles in the WVD will host the tournament at Samuel M. Hawkins-Central Gymnasium. Action begins at 9 a.m.
Clingenpeel's junior season was cut short because of injuries -- a broken left foot and a fractured right ankle -- he sustained in a late-at-night car accident that took place near his home last January. Clingenpeel and the Eagles had just returned from the Virginia Duals and earlier in the campaign, he'd won his weight class in Grundy's long-standing post-holidays tournament the Agie Skeens Memorial. He spent three days in the hospital.
"It took me a couple of months to get back. I was in a cast and a boot. I didn't have to have any surgery and that was good. Next was crutches...In May, I was able to get back to wrestling,' Clingenpeel recalled recently.
"It was hard for me to watch last year. I wanted to wrestle,' Clingenpeel said.
As a sophomore, Clingenpeel, who was introduced to the sport through a high school physical education class, won the district championship, placed fourth in the Northwest Regionals and earned his first Group AAA state tournament berth. He was en route to matching, and perhaps bettering those superlatives last year before the accident.
"(My doctors) told me that I could go 100 percent when I first came back, but I didn't want to force anything. I waited. I only had one year (of high school wrestling left) and I didn't want to hurt things again. I went back to the basics, the beginning trying to strengthen things up,' Clingenpeel said.
Clingenpeel, who carries a 4.2 grade-point-average (GPA) at FCHS, said his first tournament action came in an off-season event in July and he noticed that things were different.
"I wasn't back to where I was, but I was working to get back to where I was. I was slow. I was out-of-shape of course. My legs were weak. I wasn't discouraged. I was just working hard to get back to where I was,' Clingenpeel said.
"It felt great just to lock up with someone even though I wasn't at my best. It had been a long time since the accident. I gained a lot of weight,' said Clingenpeel, who added that when he first returned to the mat, he weighed in the mid 140s.
"I had to really push it. I've had to push it this year because I want this year to count,' said Clingenpeel, who joined the school's 100-career win club this season.
"I appreciate wrestling more now because I had it taken away...I guess everything happens for a reason,' Clingenpeel said.
WESTERN VALLEY DISTRICT
9 a.m. Weigh-Ins
10:30 a.m. First Round
11:15 a.m. Semifinals
1 p.m. Consolation
1:45 p. m. Consolation
3 p. m. Championship