Reid Ballantyne of Stillwater wrestled Apple Valley's Martin Stewart in a Class 3A 126-pound quarterfinal match Friday. Ballantyne won by decision 4-0. Photo: Aaron Lavinsky * firstname.lastname@example.org
All things considered, Lynden Wilson was as pleased as possible after his first-round loss to Shakopee’s Tyler Jones at 126 pounds in the Class 3A wrestling state tournament on Friday.
Just qualifying as an invididual for the meet was pretty satisfying.
Wilson, a senior from Hastings, had spent the three previous seasons battling various stages of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as well as neuropathy in his hands that developed as a result of chemotherapy.
The afflictions sidetracked Wilson’s wrestling life, keeping him from chasing his passion. He wasn’t completely devoid of wrestling, having persevered during those times and competing when he could. He did it for the love of the sport, thought he was never the wrestler he thought he could be.
“It’s just super fun,” Wilson said. “You depend on yourself. I love to wrestle.”
If Wilson has one regret, it’s that the treatments for cancer kept him from advancing at the same rate as his peers.
“All these other kids that I used to wrestle when I was younger have gained like 20, 30 pounds by this time,” he said. “I stayed the same weight, or even got lower, after chemo. It took away my muscle a lot.”
As his cancer fades, going on three years since he was declared cancer-free, Wilson has learned to appreciate every chance he gets to step on the mat.
“Wrestling felt like home,” said Wilson, who lost in wrestlebacks later in the day, ending his season. “I felt way better this year and I got to be captain. Which was a major improvement. To be honest, I just love it.”