SEDRO-WOOLLEY — An injury slowed Kai Greenough down this year. There wasn’t much else that could.
A year after not placing at Mat Classic, Greenough overcame a midseason finger injury to place fifth in the 106-pound weight class of the Class 2A State Tournament.
For his persistence and finish, he’s been selected the Skagit Valley Herald Boys’ Wrestler of the Year.
Sedro-Woolley coach Brady Mast, a former high school state champion, coached Greenough when the high school junior was a youth wrestler.
In his first year at the helm of the Cubs, Mast wasn’t surprised to find Greenough’s work ethic was still solid.
“I’ve known Kai since he was first starting in Steelclaw (youth wrestling),” Mast said. “When I was in high school he was starting in Steelclaw and I got to work with him and his brother. It’s funny it’s worked its way back around and I’m coaching him again. We had that mutual respect.”
Mast said Greenough isn’t just a talented wrestler. Even when injured Greenough set an example for the high school program’s large group of young and inexperienced wrestlers.
Greenough suffered a broken index finger during the season and wasn’t able to compete for about a month. But he made sure to stay a part of the team.
“He could just do running. But he’d keep his wrestling shoes on and do whatever he could. ... He pushed himself extra. It was important to have him do that,” Mast said. “The other kids said, ‘He’s injured, but trying to do anything possible to make himself better at the sport.’ ... It shows in itself how hard a worker he is.”
Greenough said, “I felt really great even though I was hurt. I was just coming in and doing some running, exercising. ... It was really good. The whole team had a good, positive feedback with it. Everyone was thoughtful about it.”
The work paid off at the end of the year as Greenough battled back after a second-round loss in the Tacoma Dome for his fifth-place finish.
After a first-round victory, Greenough lost to Toppenish wrestler Joel Godina, who went on to win the title.
Greenough then reeled off wins in three of his next four matches: pins over Justin Wilkins of Ridgefield and Matthew Gore of Orting and then — after a loss — a win in the fifth-place match. He beat East Valley’s Jaiden Leon 10-4.
“(The previous year) I was scared to go out and wrestle in front of all the people. It’s loud, so loud you can’t hear your coach. I learned to look up, look at the coach. ... The small things really helped,” Greenough said.