Pomeroy athlete takes positive path

Pomeroy wrestler Austin Reisdorph pins an opponent during the 2013 Coyote Classic on Jan. 19, in Kittitas, Wash.

Pomeroy wrestler Austin Reisdorph pins an opponent during the 2013 Coyote Classic on Jan. 19, in Kittitas, Wash. photo courtesy AUSTIN REISDORPH

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Reisdorph won the 220-pound weight class in his first live wrestling since suffering a knee injury during the football season.

Regional lineup

Headlined by the veteran trio of Ryan Smith, Wyatt Jenkins and Austin Reisdorph, Pomeroy will be bringing nine wrestlers to the Class 1B East Regional in Reardan this weekend.

Waitsburg-Prescott’s wrestling team, in just its second year of existence, will be bringing six wrestlers to the regional tournament, led by freshman Tristan Newman at 285 pounds.

The tournament kicks off today at 4 p.m. and runs through Saturday.

The top five finishers in the 12-man, double elimination bracket at regionals will advance to state.

Seniors Smith (160), Jenkins (170) and Reisdorph (220) all won their classes at the south sub regionals in Davenport last Saturday en route to a 178-175 victory over Reardan in the team totals.

Jenkins (31-3 this season) is ranked No. 1 in his class by the website Washington Wrestling Report, and Smith is ranked No. 2.

Reisdorph (7-0) would likely be ranked as well, were it not for a football injury that sidelined him until late January.

Both Reisdorph and Jenkins finished as runners up at state last season, while Smith made the trip to Tacoma but did not place.

And with six other wrestlers looking to make state, Pomeroy is healthier and deeper than it has been all year after struggling with injuries and illness during the regular season.

“It just kind of fell together at the last minute here,” Pomeroy coach Brian Slaybaugh said. “That (sub regionals) was the most kids we had wrestling at one time all season.”

Although Pomeroy took the top spot at sub regionals, Slaybaugh wasn’t confident the Pirates would repeat the feat in Reardan.

“I doubt we win it,” Slaybaugh said. “I hope we make the top four. We have some young kids that will probably get bumped out of the tournament pretty fast.”

W-P’s highest seeds out of sub regionals were senior James Thompkins at 138 and Newman.

Newman placed second and Thompkins third.

Wa-Hi sends six grapplers to its Class 4A regional tournament in Spokane on Saturday.

POMEROY — Austin Reisdorph made it just one quarter into the first game of his senior season before his prep football career came to an abrupt end.

Lummi High School’s running back darted inside after running a sweep and Reisdorph, an all-conference linebacker for Pomeroy, cut back to pursue.

Or he tried to.

If the gut-wrenching pop and severe pain weren’t enough to confirm it, an MRI did: Reisdorph tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) on that September day in Bellingham.

Gone was the rest of his football season, a severe blow to his hopes to play linebacker at Washington State, and gone, too, was likely the entirety of his wrestling season — the doctor predicted a six-month recovery.

But Reisdorph, who finished runner-up at the 2012 Mat Classic at 195 pounds, made his recovery in four.

“It was definitely frustrating to hear my senior season was over after only one game,” Reisdorph said. “But I focused on rehabbing as fast as I could so I could get back into wrestling.”

Within two months he was jogging.

At 3 1/2 months Reisdorph, also a track star, was running.

The whole time he lifted weights, bulking up to a solid 220 pounds.

And now, with a 7-0 record this season on the mats, a bigger, stronger, and still-pretty-fast Reisdorph stands ready to lead the Pirates into this weekend’s regional tournament and beyond, a brace the only reminder of the injury he suffered.

“It actually really helped me, I think,” he said of the injury. “It kind of gave me a new perspective, with football things kind of slowed down for me. With wrestling... it definitely gave me a little more perspective as far as the coaching side of it.”

Despite being unable to wrestle, Reisdorph attended almost every practice, spending time in the wrestling room as a coach and cheerleader.

“I guess one of the big things for Austin this year is that he kept a good attitude for being hurt all year,” Pomeroy wrestling coach Brian Slaybaugh said. “He kept a good attitude and just stayed positive, I think that’s one of those things that has helped him more than anything this year.”

Last season, Reisdorph compiled a 31-5 record with his quickness and height, but in his limited time back he has simply been outmuscling his opponents.

Of his seven matches, just one has gone into the second round: the title match of the Coyote Classic on Jan. 20th, when Slaybaugh told his star grappler to take his time — it was his first tournament of the season.

Slaybaugh doesn’t think anyone can stand in his path to the state title this season, something Reisdorph has wanted since he began the sport at 5 years old.

“He’s just so much bigger and stronger and faster than anybody (we’ve seen),” Slaybaugh said. “... I don’t know all the names up north, but I haven’t heard of anybody out there that will really give him a good match.”

After the wrestling season ends, Reisdorph will hang up his singlet and move on to track, where he runs the 200- and 400-meter dashes as well as the 4x100 and 4x400 relays.

As a junior, Reisdorph finished second at state in both individual events and helped pace the Pirates to first-place finishes in both relays.

But don’t expect him to slim down too much for track season, Reisdorph still has his sights set on playing college football.

Prior to his injury, Reisdorph said he had been recruited by Washington State, Oregon State, Eastern Washington, Central Washington and a slew of NCAA Division III schools in the region.

After tearing his ACL, Reisdorph refocused his efforts on earning a scholarship to a DIII school, reasonable given his background in 8-man football and curtailed senior campaign.

As a lifelong Wazzu fan, however, he couldn’t resist the Crimson and Gray.

The Cougars’ upset victory over Washington in overtime of the 2012 Apple Cup sealed a decision he had been mulling since being accepted to Pullman. Scholarship offers or no, he would walk on at WSU.

“Ever since I was little I wanted to play for WSU,” Reisdorph said.

And although he comes from a small school, don’t count the resilient Reisdorph out from making the cut.

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