Patrick Finley: The ultimate team player

After day in hospital, Sunnyside wrestler makes unusual offer
2013-02-06T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T15:33:31Z Patrick Finley: The ultimate team playerPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
February 06, 2013 12:00 am  • 

After two days at home and two more at the hospital, Ryan Deatherage figured out the only way to continue his wrestling career.

He called his coach last week and volunteered to move up from 182 to 220 pounds.

Which, on the surface, sounds like me entering my Prius in a tractor pull.

The idea made sense, though, both for the Sunnyside senior and his Blue Devils teammates.

The team's regular 220-pound wrestler walked around much lighter than that and could get under the 182-pound threshold by this past Saturday's Division I, Section III meet.

And Deatherage, weighed down by water pills given to him during a 24-hour hold at University of Arizona Medical Center one week ago to treat chronic blood pressure, wouldn't have to worry about cutting weight.

"Such a team player," coach Anthony Leon said.

By the time Deatherage left UMC Thursday night, cleared by doctors to wrestle two days later, he had a new weight class.

All he had to do was beat guys 30 pounds heavier than he.

In the playoffs.

After missing four straight days of practice before a Friday workout.

As the sign at Sunnyside's wrestling room says: "No Pressure. Just Don't Lose."

"I was more concerned about letting down my teammates than the size of the guy," he said. "That doesn't really scare me."

Saturday, Deatherage qualified for the state tournament by finishing second in the section.

Thursday in Prescott Valley, he will begin a two-day quest for the state title in his new, foreign weight class.

How amazing is that?

"Toughest kid I've ever coached," Leon said.

Deatherage, who went 15-4 in the 182-pound class this year, had been pinned by high blood pressure before.

He discovered it last year after being tested during a nursing demonstration on campus. His readings were obscene.

He stopped wrestling for the second half of last season while doctors tried to find the best mix of medication for him.

"Time taken away from me," he said, "that I can never get back."

He put on about 30 pounds of muscle this offseason - that's four hours in the weight room every day - after being slotted, as a junior, in the 152-pound weight class.

He monitored his high blood pressure - which could manifest itself in shortness of breath, numbness in his extremities and a red face - all season.

Leon afforded him extra breaks in the team's practice space, which boasts 29 state team championship trophies.

Sunnyside has so many individual state champions that it ran out of wall space to hang photos of each winner eight years ago.

"This is a room," Leon said, "where no one hands you a spot."

Deatherage, who could weigh 200 pounds by Thursday, knows wrestling's weight rigors aren't good for his blood pressure. That's why he won't wrestle in college, where he'll study civil engineering at the UA or Grand Canyon University.

"I have to start taking care of my health now, in the long run," he said.

Bulky wrestlers, meanwhile, provide a more immediate threat to his physical well-being.

"I think he's a surprise, a sleeper," Leon said.

Deatherage has loftier goals.

"I have a passion to place first," he said. "And I have a good shot at that."

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Activate

Latest Sports Video

More videos

Hansen: Is UCLA an underachiever?

Ryan and Greg discuss whether UCLA is underachieving.


Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Featured businesses

View more...

Deals, offers & events

View more...