Sometimes, the waiting is really the hardest part.
As Lakeland High junior Ryan Quimby prepared for his state 4A championship match at 152 pounds, he waited.
It didn’t work out that day.
After going through it again, his patience paid off earlier this month, winning the Reno Worlds wrestling tournament at 152 pounds.
UNLIKE THE state tournament, Quimby wrestled a semifinal match on Saturday, then waited until the finals the following day before getting back on the mat.
“I had to sit around all day just waiting,” Quimby said. “It kind of helped to not think about it and just relax. The more I think about big matches like that, the more nervous I get. I just tried not to think about it much.”
At state, Quimby lost by decision to Jakob Murillo of Jerome 9-2. On that day, he wrestled in the semifinals at 9 a.m., then had to wait seven hours to do it again.
“It was a pretty long layover,” Quimby said. “Me and my teammate (Sam Edelblute), we got some food and headed back to the hotel room and hung out for an hour or so before the finals.”
Quimby had competed in the event for the last three years.
“I was just excited,” Quimby said. “You go to that tournament so many times, and you see those big Eagle trophies that they had out. And you want one every time you go. I just never thought I’d get one. It was really surprising to win, but I just tried to focus on my wrestling. And it just worked out this time.”
Quimby is the first wrestler from Lakeland to win at Reno since Clint Leonard captured a title in 2002.
“It’s kind of unreal to me,” Quimby said. “I just looked up to them as way better wrestlers than I was. But it really boosts my confidence knowing that I can do it.”
“Ryan is a great kid,” Lakeland coach Rob Edelblute said. “He has truly matured these past few years.
He has a mindset to be a champion and is really dedicating the time to meet that goal. The past few years, he was a bit timid, always commenting about his opponent being too strong or being an upper classman. He had the tools, but always felt it wasn’t his time yet. He now is putting it all together and it is showing.”
THE EVENT, held at the Reno Livestock Events Center, was also the site of the Sierra Nevada Classic, where Quimby placed sixth in January.
“I didn’t think I was going to place at Sierra Nevada,” Quimby said. “It just helped (at Reno Worlds) knowing that it was just another tournament.”
Quimby went 38-13 for Lakeland this year and placed third at state as a sophomore.
“It really helps with my confidence,” Quimby said. “Sometimes, I don’t go out and wrestle my best, or wrestle down to my competition, which isn’t a very good thing to do. It should help me a lot.”
“He is committed to training in the offseason and traveling to elite tournaments,” Edelblute said. “I think when he took second at state this year, it gave him a bad taste in the mouth. He has gone non-stop since then, finding every oppportunity to get on the mat. If he stays focused, a state title will be in reach.”
Jason Elliott is a sports writer for the Coeur d’Alene Press. He can be reached by telephone at (208) 664-8176, Ext. 2020 or via email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JECdAPress.