Loder's courage on full display at state wrestling meet

By: Kurt Johnson senior sports editor
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With wins in seven of his nine matches over the two days of the CIF State Wrestling Championships in Bakersfield, Granite Bay’s Ryan Loder finished the weekend with a fifth-place finish in the 189-pound weight class. That result may seem less than impressive for a young man considered by many as the favorite to win in Bakersfield, but for Loder it was a testament to his character and determination that he was even able to compete. The senior contracted a serious skin condition the day before leaving for the state finals, and he was left with a huge abrasion at the crook of the elbow on his right arm that brought pain each time it was touched. With limited ability to bend his arm due to significant swelling, he obtained the necessary medical clearance to wrestle and gutted out nine tough matches. “If I was in a foxhole, he is the guy I would want next to me,” said Granite Bay coach Mike Lynch. “There is no quit in this guy. 99 out of 100 people would not even have made the trip to Bakersfield, but he was there and he conducted himself with honor.” In addition to his fifth-place result on the mat, Loder was honored as one of the recipients of the “Pursuing Victory With Honor” award. “It was heartbreaking for him to have to compete that way,” Lynch said. “It was like wrestling with one hand tied behind his back, but he showed so much courage.” Following a third-round loss to eventual 189-pound runner-up Nikolai Crouch of Santa Fe High in the Southern Section, the Sac-Joaquin Section champ rattled off consecutive impressive wins over Zach Mills (Live Oak), Brian Orr (Ramona), Derrick Hawkins (Santiago) and Rodolfo Juarez (Central) to get within two wins of a third-place finish. A loss to Jesus Chavez of River Valley, the fifth-place wrestler from Loder’s own section, put the Granite Bay grappler into the fifth-place final against Tommy Burriel of Clovis. The No. 2-ranked 189-pound wrestler in the state beat Burriel 5-0 to earn the No. 5 position. Despite the health battles, Loder was so close to a much better result, as his initial loss to Crouch that took him out of the race for the title was a one-point decision (6-5). The loss to Chavez was by just two points (8-6). Woodcreek’s Garrett Jones was also part of the 189-pound field. Jones pinned Sam Berry of Lowell High School in his first match, before losing 4-2 to Rodolfo Juarez of Central High in the third round. Jones came back strong to pin Colt Little of Anderson and then take a 2-1 decision over James Chandless of Marysville, but a 3-2 loss to Burriel ended his competition short of the medal stand. Roseville sophomore Dylan Jankovich was knocked out of the running at 119 pounds in Friday’s wrestling. Jankovich won a 9-0 decision over Kyle Clagg of Shasta in his opening match at today’s championships, and then picked up a bye in the second round at 119 pounds. He was beaten 11-2 by Bobby Morales, and then lost a 2-1 decision to Zach Waldren of Granada.