SPORTS SUNDAY -- Jaden Mairs had momentum all in his favor as a junior.
Having made a trip to state finals in the previous season, he was ready to make his second journey to the title match.
Then in December of 2017, he felt a twinge in his shoulder.
"I got slammed to the mat really hard," Mairs said. "I actually tore the labrum in my left shoulder."
The injury only got worse as time went on.
"It was actually partially torn in the first match," Mairs said. "Then actually in practice, wrestling my coach. I got snapped down really hard and it fully tore then."
He was faced with the end of his season coming prematurely.
Meanwhile, his teammates could see the anguish in his demeanor.
"It seemed like he was going through a lot of pain," said sophomore Clayto Nissko. "I could tell he was fighting through it and being a champ."
What he did next would stun them.
Instead of opting to have his arm surgically repaired, he kept wrestling with the help of a brace.
"I didn't really want to miss out on the whole state tournament just because of my shoulder," Mairs said.
He went on to get to the last match in states again, taking runner-up spot in the 152 weight class.
"I'm just thinking man this guy can break his whole entire arm and still finish second in state," Nissko remarked.
This season, Mairs is finally fully healthy. But the struggle to get there was long and grueling, not just physically but also mentally.
"You'll be sitting there in practice and it pops out of place and you're like I don't know if I can continue doing this all season," Mairs said. "But you just have to trust the doctors and trust yourself."
He's now 22-5 this season in the 170 weight class, taking runner-up in the EDC Championship. He credits his recovery to the way he approaches every match.
"You can freak out when there's 30 seconds left in the third period and you're losing," Mairs said. "But keeping a cool head is definitely an important part of wrestling."