RAYNE — High school wrestling resumes Friday in Baton Rouge, where Rayne's Ryder Hawley eyes up a second consecutive state title. It would be an impressive feat for anyone, but perhaps moreso when you understand Hawley has a real physical disadvantage.
In a sport predicated on strength, quickness, and balance, Hawley competes at a high level despite missing a part of his foot.
"The only thing is I just have trouble balancing on that leg," he said as he trains for the state meet.
Hawley was injured as a kid in a lawn-mowing accident. He was 3 years old and helping his grandfather. Hawley recalls cleaning up some of his toys in the yard so his grandfather didn't hit them.
"He was coming around the corner while I was running out. I saw him, so I tried to break-off the other way and dodge him, but I slipped. It was just perfect timing really," he said.
Hawley says he spent several months in the hospital as doctors reconstructed his heel. He has occasional pain, but nothing that's held him back. Last year as a junior he won a state title at wrestling at 145 lbs.
"It's a big deal," he said. I was emotional when I won because it was crazy that it happened. Putting in the hard work to get there, everything I worked for, it counted."
"Unless he takes his socks off or his shirt, you really don't know," said Rayne coach Trevor Carriere. "It's kind of amazing the level of athleticism that he brings and that he has. It's pretty cool to see."
This season Hawley is 20-2 in varsity matches. If he repeats as a state champion he becomes just the ninth Rayne Wrestler to win multiple titles, according to the Louisiana High School Wrestling Association's archives.
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.
To reach the newsroom or report a typo/correction, click HERE.
Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Evening News Headlines, Latest COVID-19 Headlines, Morning News Headlines, Special Offers