BASKERSFIELD — If anybody would have asked Ripon heavyweight state qualifier Tristan Smith if he was ever hurt during the state tournament he would probably say no.
Smith was seeking to accomplish something that his brother, Trevor, did years back for Ripon, and that was to place sixth or better in state — as a junior.
While it seemed like a longshot after his first-round loss Friday in the CIF State Wrestling Championships held at Rabobank Arena, Smith was also battling with a back injury and a sickness, not to mention he was 31 pounds under the 285 limit.
“I wasn’t one hundred percent, but that still shouldn’t have been a factor. I am also feeling a little bit sick but today was just not a good day,” Smith said.
While all these factors looked to take a toll on Smith in the early stages of the day, it was the wear and tear above all that did the most damage, as his season ended with a 2-2 finish at the state tournament.
“He doesn’t like to make excuses,” said head coach Glen White. “He knows he needs to get stronger and get more offensive, and the good thing about him is he is willing to put in the time and likes to wrestle in the offseason.
If we get him to lift a little more weights then the strength will come with that so he will be a big guy no matter what.”
“Next year I hope on gaining about 20 or 30 pounds of muscle so that I can actually be good at this weight class, because right now I need to gain some muscle,” Smith said after losing his fourth match of the day on Friday night. “I am too light but really I just didn’t wrestle good in this tournament.”
Despite the damaging circumstances for Smith, it all started in the first round after an intense stalemate matchup with Kingsburg High’s Andrew Vorhees.
Smith and coach White knew the game plan and were confident with the execution until late in the second round with about 50 seconds left. Vorhees hit a reversal to beat Smith via head-arm pin.
This booted Smith into the consolation bracket, which is a longer road for just the possibility of topping out in third place.
“We both really thought that the first match was winnable but when a heavyweight lands on you it is tough to move,” White said.
Smith would then top Raysean Jones of Washington High before beating out Elijah Siaz of Shasta.
“During the matches I wasn’t really hurting as badly but during warmups I couldn’t do what I usually do nor was I really that comfortable as I should’ve been and that,” Smith said. “I think was a big factor.”
In his last bout, Smith would meet Mike McCauley of Vacaville but dropped a tough 2-1 decision to end his season.
Smith placed third in the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters tournament last weekend.
“We hoped all year that he would make it to state,” White said. “But it’s tough to get here and the fact that he placed third in sections and made it here and went 2-2, I think he has a lot to work on but hopefully next year he hopes to be on the podium that’s his goal. Still, he had an outstanding year.”
Smith is not satisfied by any means and knows what it will take for him to return next season for an opportunity to finish what he started this year.
“I wasn’t really here to prove anything to myself it was more to prove something to my brother and I was trying to do that,” Smith added. “Hopefully, I can actually make it to the finals next year. That is my goal. That is the drive.”