Heading into his senior year, Hannibal wrestler Jake Borgmeyer was poised for a monster season. Not only was Borgmeyer one of only two senior grapplers on the team, but he was a three-time placer at the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) state tournament with many years of experience and practice under his belt.
Borgmeyer started wrestling when he was a child. He got the itch at just six years old while watching his older brothers wrestle. From that point on, Borgmeyer was hooked.
“I remember my first time was when I was probably six years old,” Borgmeyer said. “It was on and off throughout elementary school because it wasn’t competitive. (I have been wrestling) competitively through clubs since I was 10.”
When he moved into high school, Borgmeyer wrestled in the 215 weight class as a freshman and sophomore before moving up to the 285 (heavyweight) division for his junior and senior years.
As a freshman, Borgmeyer placed sixth overall in the state in the 215 weight class.
“It was a good experience,” Borgmeyer said. “My freshman year when I went in there (to state), we had a very talented senior class and it was a lot of good experience for me to be with those upperclassmen at the state tournament.”
He improved on that finish and earned second place in the state during his sophomore campaign.
“My sophomore year I was the only one that made it to the finals,” Borgmeyer said. “Just the experience there – there is nothing like being in the finals of the state tournament. It was really something else.”
Wrestling in a new weight class, Borgmeyer slipped a bit his junior year, but still finished a very respectable third overall in the heavyweight division.
“Last year I fell a little short,” Borgmeyer said. “I mean, every year I fell a little short of my goals, but last year it really hurt. I fell short and had to settle for third. It is tough to do when you have your mind set on something and have that change of direction.”
This year, his final year of high school, was supposed to be his best season yet. For the first 29 matches of the season, it was his best. Borgmeyer opened the season undefeated. Of his 29 wins, 20 of them came by pinning his opponent. The other nine were forfeit (six), major decision (two) and decision (one).
“It had been great,” Borgmeyer said of his season up to that point. “There is always room for improvement and that is what I was working on. I was working on my finish and getting in on shot and my confidence level which was really the only thing I lacked in the previous years.”
Page 2 of 3 - Then, during his 30th match of the season, Borgmeyer lost, but it wasn’t just any loss. Borgmeyer broke his left leg during a match and was unable to continue. His opponent was declared the winner and with a record of 29-1, Borgmeyer’s season was over.
“I remember coach Greening saying we are done to the ref,” Borgmeyer said. “But I yelled at him and said no we are not. But I ended up not being able to wrestle. I just thought about the worst and that I wasn’t going to be able to get my shot at finally being able to get my goal.”
Borgmeyer knew exactly what had happened when he was injured.
“I heard the break and felt it,” Borgmeyer said. “I looked and realized that something was wrong. But, I always tell myself to think positive. So the whole time on the way to and in the ER I kept telling myself that no matter what I would bounce back, that maybe it wouldn’t be this year, but I would eventually. I definitely would make a statement later on.”
The injury was classified as a spiral fracture of his fibula. But it wasn’t just that. Borgmeyer also tore some tendons in his ankle. Altogether, he had nine pins and a plate surgically added. Two of the pins will eventually come out, but the other seven will remain permanently.
Being done for the season was a big hit to Borgmeyer who began wrestling so many years ago.
“It does (suck),” Borgmeyer said. “Quite a bit actually.”
Even though he is not wrestling anymore and his high school athletic career is now over, Borgmeyer admitted it is difficult.
“It is tough, it really is,” Borgmeyer said. “It is hard to watch something that you love happen when you can’t do anything about it. But, I have always enjoyed watching my teammates wrestle and compete. I want the best for every one of them.”
As of now, Borgmeyer has not started a structured rehab. He is still in a cast for another four weeks (from yesterday). At that point he will ditch the crutches and wear a walking boot. But just because his season is over, doesn’t mean Borgmeyer is done with the Hannibal wrestling team. Instead, he has taken it upon himself to help out his former teammates.
“I spend most of my time in here with the guys and coaching them,” Borgmeyer said. “I try to help them out as much as I can to reach their goals. When this happened (the injury), my goals had to change from me getting my state championship to helping the guys in here that are going to compete to get theirs and their final goals and what they want.”
Page 3 of 3 - While this season is over, Borgmeyer is far from done. He’s still undecided on where he plans to attend college, but when he does make a choice, he has plenty of time to wrestle at the next level as well as several offseason tournaments he is hoping to be recovered for by the summer.
“There are some postseason tournaments that I go to individually,” Borgmeyer said. “I would like to try and see if I can still go to (them). But that depends on when I get the cast off and how it looks and how well I rehab it back. It is just a big decision I have to make later on.”