By Brian Jerzak
Medford junior Charley Elwood worked his way through the 138A bracket at the Minnesota High School wrestling tournament in March on his way to another state title. He capped the weekend off with a 15-0 tech fall in the finals. The now three-time state champion was considering not even competing in the section tournament just three weeks earlier.
"Two weeks before this year's section tournament, I considered stopping because I was in so much pain," Elwood said. "I could hardly get through practices. It was a hard decision. I love wrestling, and I wanted to win another state title, but I have to live the rest of my life. I sat down with my parents, and I decided I am going to tough it out as long as I can."
Toughing it out started as a freshman.
"I was wrestling my partner in practice. He got in on my legs and took me down. I ended up landing on my tail bone. I remember I knew something had happened. I couldn't move, but I got up and finished practice. I don't know how I finished practice. The section tournament and the state tournament were coming up. I won the section tournament pretty handily. In the state tournament, I remember I couldn't even hold my stance. I didn't have any strength. At this point, I didn't know what was wrong. I was determined to finish the season out, and then I will figure out what is wrong."
The state tournament would become a preview of what Elwood would have to go through the rest of his wrestling career.