Panama City Beach, FL---For top wrestlers across the area, it's off to Jacksonville Friday for regionals.
50 plus wrestlers from our area in fact hoping to qualify for State next week, and that includes a senior at Arnold who's competing this weekend despite a serious health setback earlier this season.
Strength, endurance and toughness are attributes wrestlers use to have an advantage for Arnold's Colby Baker, they were a necessity just to get back to the sport he loves.
"The weightlifting and the strength is coming back a lot quicker than the endurance is and I can feel it in the wrestling room."
You may wonder why a wrestler in peak physical form like Colby is struggling with strength and endurance?
"I had viral meningitis back in October. So that put me down for a while so I missed the start of the season."
Like most patients with meningitis, colby was hospitalized in October.
But it would not end there.
"Right before the year changed I had to go back into the hospital, December 29th through the 31st and then I was out and then I went back in the first through the fourth because of the flu."
Ironically, 2013 could be the healthiest Colby will be for state in recent years..
"My Sophomore year was right before I had shoulder surgery so my shoulder was coming out the whole time. And then junior year I had just had knee surgery in that summer and then December so that was hard so maybe I'll make it back 100 percent this year."
Injuries and illnesses aside, Colby as has but one obstacle to overcome.
"Just to finally place. Because I have been three years now and it just gets harder every time to not place and just walk out with a hoodie that says your weight class and your name"
Colby and the others at regionals must be top four in their weight class at regionals to make it to State set for Lakeland the 15th and 16th.