The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

April 23, 2014

Wrestler of the Year: Southern's Kent Lane has the eye of the tiger.

CATAWISSA — If Kent Lane had a bumper sticker, it might read, “I’d rather be wrestling.”

Yet, after a knee injury sidelined him in January, the Southern Columbia junior found himself doing everything but wrestling, all of it aimed at getting back on the mat for the postseason.

Lane overcame knee surgery to resume his season 16 days later in the District 4 South Sectional Tournament in Mifflinburg. He turned into even more of a pinning machine than usual as he dominated the sectional, district and Northeast Regional tournaments and won a silver medal in the PIAA Class AA championships at 138 pounds.

For his great performance under trying circumstances, Lane is The Daily Item Wrestler of the Year.

His coach, former two-time state champion Jerry Marks, was selected as Coach of the Year.

After more than two weeks of physical therapy and having his knee drained a few times, Lane found himself back where he wanted to be as the postseason began. He had fashioned a 19-1 record in the regular season, the lone loss coming in the finals of the “Escape the Rock Tournament” in January, where he sustained the injury. Back on the mat for the first time since the injury, Lane felt like a kid on Christmas morning.

“When I got on the mat (for the sectional tournament), I felt like a little kid,” said Lane, the son of Colleen and Kent Lane. “I was all giddy. Everybody was like ‘Oh, my God, you’re so happy.’ ’’

Nineteen of Lane’s 28 wins (he was 28-2) on the season came by pin, but the fall became his primary objective upon his return.

“For one, I just wanted to pin everyone, so I could rest my knee. And it’s also my whole objective. I like pinning guys, that’s the way I want to wrestle: dominate everyone. The object is to pin everybody anyway and I ended up pinning a lot of guys (seven) in the postseason.”

Putting the setback behind him, Lane went to back to work in the second season.

“I’m really thankful that I had a great doctor, physical therapists, family, everybody that just helped me do whatever it took to get me through it to be able to wrestle at the end of the year.

“They did everything that they could do and I did everything I could do and I did what they told me,” he said.

Marks said the injury had happened earlier in the season and was getting progressively worse. An MRI confirmed the worst: a meniscus injury, which required surgery.

After the rehab, Marks said it was decided Lane should wrestle at 138 rather than dropping because it would be difficult to cut weight having not been able to train.

“He is a great kid who worked his butt off to be where he is at today,” Marks added.

For Lane, wrestling is a year-round endeavor. “It never ends,” he said, adding that you appreciate things much more when it is taken away from you.

Already a tireless worker, Lane knows it will take even more hard work to get the state title.

“Everything kind of worked out. You’ve gotta have a little bit of luck to be in the state finals, so I made out all right, I guess.”

But he added, “It was so close. It was right there — I could reach out and grab it — but it’s not that easy. We’re going to train hard all spring, summer and fall, as usual. Just to get back to the state tournament, you’ve got to work hard. And if I am going to get up to that next level to being a state champion, you have to do another whole level of work,” he said.

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