KNIGHTDALE — Twenty-eight seconds into Wednesday night’s wrestling match between Clayton and Knightdale, wrestling became a secondary concern.
Clayton’s Trevor Loken, a sophomore wrestling at 132 pounds, was prone on the mat, his right forearm apparently broken in his match against Knightdale’s Bobby Samuels.
The referee immediately stopped the match, and athletic trainers and both coaches tended to Loken while waiting for paramedics to arrive.
“I’ve been doing this since I was 7 years old,” Clayton coach Cory Daker said after the match. “That’s probably the worst arm injury I’ve seen. I’m not a physician, but his arm was (broken).”
Daker said he didn’t see what happened to cause the injury, but Knightdale coach Kenny Watkins said Loken’s arm was extended as the two wrestlers rolled.
“He was getting rolled through, and it’s a natural instinct to try to post out to stop it,” Watkins said. “He got his arm out, not far enough to stop it and not far enough in to roll through. The pressure of both of them was too much. Our guy had a little hesitation when he went through, and I think that is when it broke.
“That kid (Loken) is a great wrestler. I circled that to be the match of the night, because they are both quality wrestlers. You hate to see that happen to anyone.”
Paramedics stabilized Loken’s arm, and the wrestler rose to his feet to walk to the waiting gurney. Fans, coaches and wrestlers from both teams applauded and cheered as he was wheeled out of the gym.
A Clayton teammate shouted “Take care of that arm kid” as Loken left. An ambulance took the wrestler to WakeMed for treatment.
The match resumed under a cloud, but wrestlers from both teams said they did their best to focus on the task at hand. Knightdale went on to win 57-20.
“It was pretty hard to focus,” said Clayton’s Michael Lines, who wrestled at 160 pounds and is a neighbor of Loken’s. “What are you going to do? You still have to go out. You still have to turn it on once you shake hands (to start the individual match).”
Watkins said he called his wrestlers together before they resumed the match.
“We brought them all together and made sure Bobby (Samuels) knew he didn’t do anything wrong,” Watkins said. “I told them not to wrestle scared, not to wrestle timid and you will be OK. I think they responded well.”
Knightdale’s Brandon Skinner, a junior, recorded a third-period pin for the Knights at 170 pounds. He triend not to think about the injury. “I try not to let things bother me,” he said. “I just try to get in a zone and don’t really think about anything.”
Brandon’s twin brother, Bradley, followed with a first-period pin at 182 that gave Knightdale a 30-9 advantage. A third Skinner brother, freshman Andrew Skinnner, won by forfeit at 152 pounds.
After Loken’s injury, Clayton got a pin from Nick Brown at 138 pounds, tying the score at 6-6. From that point on, the Knights took over.
In addition to the wins by the Skinner brothers and the injury default at 132 pounds, Knightdale got a pin from Adam Bridges at 160, a pin from Alif Bey at 195, a decision from Tramal Turner at 106 and forfeits at four other weight classes.
Clayton’s victories came from James Revels with a technical fall at 120, a decision from Josh Chamblee at 145, Brown’s pin and a forfeit at 113 pounds.
Knightdale, which lost a close match to West Johnston in its previous outing, evened its dual-meet record at 1-1 and Greater Neuse River 4A record at 1-1. The Knights finished third in the Eagle Invitational to open their season.
After the match, Clayton’s thoughts were on Loken.
“I just want to get the kids on the bus so I can get up to the hospital and see how he is doing,” Daker said.