Wrestler has guts to spare | TheUnion.com

Wrestler has guts to spare

“Everybody asks me why he gets hurt so much. You know why? Because he wrestles 100 percent all the time, and that happens when you go for it.”

– NU wrestling coach Steve Pilcher on Anthony Archuleta

To watch Anthony Archuleta over the weekend was to watch what wrestling is all about.

Finesse. Raw power. Guts n’ determination. Questionable calls and, yes, injuries.

He entered last weekend’s state tournament with enough setbacks to warrant a med school study.

Archuleta 101 included pneumonia, which he had over the holidays, a knee he blew out in February, and a nose broken twice since he transferred to Nevada Union from Sultana High School this fall.

It seemed nothing short of a gurney ride was going to keep Archuleta from surrendering his singlet that easily.

The sectional title in late February was won while wearing a protector for his nose, which he broke the day before that tournament began.

The masked avenger smoked the state competition on Friday, and was ready for Saturday’s 125-pound semifinal.

During the semifinal match Saturday, however, he began to press his hand against his ribs in pain. The mask, which had been used all tournament, was left behind as he took the mat for overtime.

It would have been a symbolic gesture in any arena of life other than this one.

A match that required a late and questionable stalling call on Archuleta was decided in double overtime, when he could not ride Jason Williams of Clovis for 30 seconds.

He then had a little over an hour to rid disappointment of a trip to the state finals, dashed.

Archuleta returned and decisively won a consolation match over Matt Schumm of Centennial Corona, 6-1. At the end of the match, the Penn Valley resident lay crumped on the edge of the circle, clutching his ribs with a hand that would have its thumb later dislocated in the third-place match.

“See that kid,” a coach in the stands pointed out to another. “That kid right there is one tough s–.”

Archuleta wrestled with the one part of his body that refused to be bruised.

His heart.

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