If anyone was looking up the top Heavyweights for the 2018-2019 season, at the top of the list was MFL MarMac’s Korby Keehner. Korby started wrestling when he was in kindergarten for the MFL MarMac Bullpup program. For the last four years, he has wrestled under head coach Chet Bachman. As a freshman Korby placed 3rd at districts, and as a sophomore, he placed 8th at the state tournament. Going into his junior year, he had high hopes for improving his previous state results. Throughout his junior year, he dislocated his patella four times, leaving him unable to compete in the tournaments at the end of the season.
Korby has been very determined, and after having a MPFL surgery the week after the high school wrestling season, he began to focus on rehabilitation for his senior year. His biggest goal was to get his knee back to 100% as soon as possible. Korby said, “When I realized that I was not going to be perfectly healthy by the beginning of the season, I knew I had to make some changes. I had to completely change the style of wrestling that I was use to, not just physically, but mentally. I had to stick to the basics, instead of the aggressive throws that I was used to.” After surgery, running wasn’t an option, so Korby began lifting harder than ever. He knew that was the best way to reach his goal of becoming a State Champion his senior year. “It was easier to work hard and get at it, with one of my fellow teammates, Michael Egan, who was going through an ACL recovery, as he’s striving for the same goals as I had.”
When Korby wasn’t focusing on making his knee stronger, he also spent time with family and friends, went fishing, worked with youth wrestlers, and went with his Bulldog teammates to Colorado for a team building trip. “Throughout my thirteen years, I have been lucky enough to have great practice partners, like my cousin Garret Keehner, and supportive coaches along the way,” Korby mentioned.
Going into Korby’s senior wrestling season, he had two main goals in mind. He wanted to become a State Champion and he wanted his team to finally be able to punch the ticket to the state team duals, which was their biggest dream since high school started. When the high school rankings came out in January, Korby was ranked #1 in Class 1A. Going into the meet against North Butler on January 17th, Korby had a 32-1 record. He knew he was going into one of the toughest matches of the season against Chet Buss. Korby said, “I was trying to be smart and thought about what I needed to do to win this match, and not so much about my knee. Once I heard and felt a pop, I knew my season was pretty much over.” He realized that it was the same MPFL injury as last year. “I felt that my biggest dream ever, since kindergarten, was crushed,” he said. Korby had many thoughts going through his head, such as, if colleges would still want him or if he would be able to wrestle again.
After talking to the doctors the next day Korby realized that his season was now finished. This was not only devastating to him, but also his family, coaches, teammates, and the whole community who cheered for him. Korby said, “My coaches were extremely supportive as they came over after the incident, and still wanted to make sure I was part of the team. Since I was not able to wrestle, the coaches wanted me to help coach and be supportive of my teammates. Along with the coaches, friends, and family, it has been a huge help in getting my mind off the bitter knee situation.” Korby has shown great leadership to all of his teammates and the youth wrestlers who look up to him. He has continued to be a positive leader for the team.
Korby is fully aware of what lies ahead of him and that it will be a challenge. Currently, Korby is working on completing his surgery and then is going to put all of his efforts into rehabilitating his knee. His goal is to get it back to 100% by lifting hard and putting in a lot of extra work. “Experiencing both these injuries, truly makes me want to work harder and be competitive at the next level.” Korby is still undecided on the college choice, but he is looking at getting a business degree while continuing wrestling at the collegiate level. He is fully aware this will not be an easy process, but with his mindset and the support of his parents and sisters, he knows he can do it.
“The greater the obstacle the more glory in overcoming it.” - Moliere
By: Kaylee Bachman