Buck anxious for return
The last time Brandon Buck stepped onto a wrestling mat the Basehor-Linwood junior was carried off on a stretcher.
With his head secured between the hands of an emergency medical worker, Buck was strapped onto a stretcher and taken away to the hospital for an evaluation after being slammed to the mat at the Bonner Springs wrestling tournament on Jan. 5.
During his career as a wrestler, Buck has seen his share of bumps and bruises. But none were quite as bad as his most recent injury.
Now, nearly three weeks later, Buck is back and he is prepared to step onto the mat for his first tournament since the injury.
"That one was kind of scary," Buck said of his latest injury. "I've been dinged up before, but nothing ever that serious. I've just been taking it easy and doing drills more than anything."
Buck said more than two weeks of drilling and taking it easy have knocked him out of shape. He hit the mat for some live wrestling for the first time since the injury on Monday, Jan. 21. Although everything felt fine as far as his neck went, he said he tired quicker than normal.
While an injury never comes at a good time, for Buck it might have come at the perfect time. While he was recovering, Buck missed just one tournament and little practice time. Still, Buck said sitting and watching his teammates compete at the Bobcat Classic was tough to swallow.
"It sucked just sitting there watching and not being able to be out there," he said. "That made me want to get back out there more than anything. And now that I can, I'm just going to go for it like I always did before."
BLHS coach Scott Neil said he expects Buck to be fine when he returns to the mat. He also said he's anxious to see him back out there.
"Having Brandon back will definitely help us as far as our team goes," Neil said. "And I think he'll be fine. I worked him pretty hard tonight (Monday) and everything seemed to be fine, so we'll get him out there this weekend and see what he can do."
The one thing Neil knows for sure is that Buck will be able to wrestle at 152 pounds. That will allow senior Matt Dukes, who's ranked first in the state in the 145-pound weight class, to return to his regular weight.
Those factors together should give the Bobcats a chance to make some noise at their next tournament.
Buck said even though he hated being out, he thought it might have been good for the team because his teammates got some more experience and pulled through some adversity.
Now, he's planning to get back on the mat, without worrying about a thing.
"If an injury's going to happen, it's going to happen," Buck said. "I'm not going to worry about it and I'm going to wrestle as hard as I can. Hopefully, we all will."
After a week away from the mat, the Bobcats will compete in the two-day Garden City tournament this weekend. Preliminary matches will begin at 3 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 25, and the finals will take place the evening of Saturday, Jan. 26.