OREM — It turns out that when Lucas Cochran had his left knee yanked by a wrestling opponent in Virginia in March, the resulting torn ACL wasn’t the only thing the doctors discovered.
Once the Box Elder High junior wrestler had knee surgery, doctors discovered a torn meniscus that had been that way for a couple years.
Cochran has since recovered and gone on to a 37-2 record this season. He’ll attempt to defend his 5A 182-pound wrestling state title Thursday at Utah Valley University.
He hasn’t missed a beat, which head coach Jed Craner calls surprising.
“Especially with an ACL, a lot of guys change things up, they’d be a lot more hesitant, but I haven’t seen that with him. It’s just been smooth sailing,” Craner said.
Cochran pinned both opponents in Wednesday’s first and second rounds. He didn’t start wrestling until a week before the season.
As happens with severe injuries, sometimes the hardest part about returning is the mental part. Not for Cochran.
“The knee brace, it didn’t slow me down at all. It’s not restricting, there’s nothing like — I don’t even know it’s there,” Cochran said.
He took advantage of his time on the sideline and became a student of the sport.
“At the end of the season last year I was kind of a little bit burnt out and then, when I was injured, I really wanted it bad. I would just watch videos and just watch how all of the pros wrestle,” Cochran said.
It allowed him to see wrestling from more of a coach’s eye. It also showed him he needed to be more aggressive in matches.
“Now when I’m watching kids wrestle, I’ll be like, ‘Oh here’s what they did wrong in that match,’ and another thing I really picked up watching college kids wrestle is they take ... about 50 shots per match. They just don’t stop,” he added.
“That’s something that really helped me.”
At the tournament where Cochran hurt his knee, he says he tried to wrestle after the injury, but forfeited his later matches.
“I was getting a takedown and then he yanked on my knee and it made this really loud pop and I kept wrestling. I actually got a takedown out of it,” Cochran said.
The wrestler escaped, Cochran got up, realized he had trouble standing and his left leg was wobbly. Two trainers at the tournament told him his knee was fine.
Cochran thinks if he kept wrestling, he would’ve done well, but he listened to his knee. He might be better off in the future for that.
SWALBERG EYES NORTHRIDGE TITLE
Northridge High has four individual wrestling state champions in school history. Hunter Swalberg wants to be No. 5.
Swalberg, a senior 120-pounder, is in Thursday’s semifinals after two wins Wednesday.
“I’m really pumped. I’ve gotten beat at the quarters the past two years so I’m really excited to get past that and into the semis,” Swalberg said.
The last Northridge individual state champion was Mike Baker in 2006, according to coach Kevin Kennington and athletic director Jason Duckworth.
Swalberg beat Granger’s Alexander Jimenez by technical fall (20-3) and Weber’s Branson Pilster by a 12-4 decision.
“Being aggressive in the first round (was the key to Wednesday’s wins), I kind of struggled being aggressive in the first round so I’ve picked it up lately,” he said.
His season record is now 44-4, which he’ll put on the line Thursday in one of the tougher brackets in the 6A tournament. Swalberg’s advantage is his height and long arms, he says.
“When kids get to my legs I feel like I’m pretty long, it’s tougher for people to score on me,” he said.
It’s rare for a Northridge wrestler to even get to the semifinals, let alone have a legitimate shot at a state title.
Swalberg has a legitimate chance to stand atop the pedestal.
NOTES & SCORES
Box Elder sophomore Bridger Ricks pinned Farmington’s Jackson Hoskins in 11 seconds, then pinned Mountain View’s Gable Stoddard in 25 seconds to advance to the semis.
Layton’s Tyson Humpherys took a combined 1:21 to pin his two foes, keeping his chances of a fourth state title alive.
Syracuse came in with high hopes to give Pleasant Grove a run for its money. Those hopes were dashed within the first hour of the tournament.
PG leads with 149.5 points, Layton’s second with 84.5, followed by Fremont (73) and Syracuse (70).
Box Elder is a distant third in 5A with 79 points, trailing Payson (125) and Wasatch (120.5).
Davis County topped one leaderboard, though. Syracuse, Layton and Viewmont each had one point docked for coach misconduct so, at one point, Davis County led Salt Lake County 3-1 in that category.
Semifinals begin at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at UVU, with finals beginning at 4:45 p.m.
113: Quade Smith (Layton, 32-6) vs. Sutton Brown (Syracuse, 32-4); Cal Christiansen (Fremont, 37-12) vs. Kyler Ferrell (Pleasant Grove, 24-18)
120: Aidan Harris (Layton, 38-9) vs. Brigham Bagley (Corner Canyon, 37-10); Hunter Swalberg (Northridge, 44-4) vs. Marco Herrera (Bingham, 36-8)
126: Corbin Platt (Fremont, 33-9) vs. Drew Lang (West, 35-4)
132: Mason Denton (Fremont, 50-4) vs. Kaden Olson (Riverton, 37-12)
138: Tyson Humpherys (Layton, 34-6) vs. MaClaine Percival (Davis, 32-6)
145: Jordan Davies (Syracuse, 32-5) vs. Oakley Ridge (Pleasant Grove, 27-7); Isaac Fisher (Layton, 27-13) vs. Mahkyi Smith (Skyridge, 33-5)
152: Lee Woolsey (Weber, 35-9) vs. Jaxon Wardle (Bingham, 35-7); Josh Rassi (Syracuse, 37-1) vs. Ashden Green (Westlake, 28-14)
160: Canyon Brann (Layton, 30-8) vs. James Hornberger (Skyridge, 42-6)
182: Jacob Kashiwaeda (Weber, 35-4) vs. Ted Johnson (Pleasant Grove, 38-10)
195: Kolton Kammeyer (Fremont, 32-9) vs. Cannon Carlson (Pleasant Grove, 32-9)
220: Bridger Harris (Weber, 32-10) vs. Anthony Stockwell (Westlake, 30-4)
285: Weston Warr (Fremont, 47-4) vs. Wyatt Dawe (Pleasant Grove, 32-8)
106: Jacob Waddoups (Farmington, 26-19 record) vs. Kyison Garcia (Mountain Ridge, 44-6)
113: Bridger Ricks (Box Elder, 34-2) vs. Ryder Robinson (Wasatch, 26-13)
132: Parker Frasure (Farmington, 33-4) vs. Cooper Cox (Maple Mountain, 23-7)
145: Moses Espinoza-Owens (Viewmont, 25-9) vs. Jace Witney (Springville, 37-11)
152: Marcus Espinoza-Owens (Viewmont, 30-5) vs. Rylan Stevens (Mountain Ridge, 24-13); Caleb Marx (Box Elder, 42-11) vs. Austin Gillette (Farmington, 35-5)
160: Jeremy Evans (Viewmont, 40-3) vs. Monson Morley (Salem Hills, 27-15); Alex Zesiger (Viewmont, 28-8) vs. Quinlin Jackson (Maple Mountain, 24-7)
182: Lucas Cochran (Box Elder, 37-2) vs. Connor Morris (Timpview, 35-11)
195: Jacob Anderson (Farmington, 44-6) vs. Carson Lancaster (Box Elder, 19-14)
220: Aaron Carty (Bonneville, 37-8) vs. Sau Tafisi (East, 25-7)
285: Kellen Collier (Box Elder, 35-6) vs. James Tomasi (Provo, 37-1)