On Friday in Lakeland, Arnold Senior Colby Baker fell in the State Finals in the 138 weight class. But for Colby, making it to State was an extreme accomplishment, overcoming a major illness in the fall to reach this point.
To the Arnold Marlin wrestling program, Colby has been a figurehead of the program since his freshmen season- being just one of two seniors to qualify for state all four years of his high school career.
"His work ethic is just amazing," says Head Coach Jeff Skipper. "We always talk about adversity, and everytime he gets knocked down he keeps getting up. It's just an amazing thing to watch any young person do that."
Colby's work ethic was put to the ultimate test in October, when he was diagnosed with Viral Meningitis- missing 30 days of school and countless wrestling meets.
"I ended up having to make up quite a bit of work," says Colby. "Getting back working out was the hardest thing with that, just because I'd go to do something and five minutes later, I was done. I was just too tired to do anything."
But Colby came out on top- making up all his work, winning districts, coming in second at Regionals- all while balancing a 3.2 GPA.
"The way that he's improved since he came back from Viral Meningitis, every week he's bigger and stronger and he's faster," says Coach Skipper.
"With being sick, I missed most of the season, I'm not even over 20 matches for the season and I'm used to having over 50," says Colby. "That's been a bigger push to get back- knowing that I have a limited time to have the best run possible."
That run came to an end this weekend at State, with Colby going 1-2, but wrestling isn't over for the Senior, because as Colby says- the best, is yet to come.
"We've only had two state placers and now I've made it among the only two that have qualified four times," he says. "I'm not really looking forward to leaving anything behind in those kind of stats, I'd rather go to college and make it and wrestle in the NCAA's then ever win state would mean more to me."
Just like he's made a name for himself at Arnold, the name Colby Baker will surely be heard loud and clear at the next level. Colby says he's considering a few different colleges, and when he decides where he wants to go, he'll decide what he wants to study- either orthopedics or business.