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Rock Falls’ Luevano taking his shot at state

Roman’s empire

It was like deja vu all over again.

Last season, Roman Luevano enjoyed a strong campaign until suffering a knee injury that forced him to miss the postseason. This season, Luevano was sailing along before another ailment sidelined him. This time it was a concussion.

Fortunately, the Rock Falls senior recovered in time for this postseason, shaking off 3 weeks of rust to win a Class 1A 182-pound regional title last Saturday at Rock Falls.

Last season, Luevano piled up 26 wins before getting hurt in practice just days before regionals.

"Me and my partner, Lucas Newburgh, got in a weird position and I heard a pop," Luevano said. "It was the worst pain I ever felt."

It was a slightly torn meniscus in his right knee. The prescription was physical therapy, but no surgery.

This season Luevano was 17-2, all at 220 pounds, before his quarterfinal match against Manteno's Jordyn Wasiel, ranked second by Illinois Matmen, in early January at the prestigious Princeton Invitational.

"It was a close match and it was in the first period," Luevano said. "The kid got a takedown on me and we were scrambling, and I took an elbow to the back of the head. I don't remember much after that. Everyone says I blacked out, but I'm not sure about that."

Luevano, now 19-3, was unable to continue and missed the next 3 weeks with a concussion. He said he's had other concussions in football. He was not allowed to do anything strenuous during his recovery, and he fought through some difficult times.

There was nausea and dizziness, and excruciating and frequent headaches. His schoolwork also suffered.

"I fell behind in my English class," Luevano said.

His disposition was affected as well.

"I was really moody," he said. "I was always angry. I felt like I hated everything, but it was just because of my concussion."

Second-year Rock Falls coach Derick Cox said Luevano may have been able to get to state last year, and expects him to have a great chance to advance to state at Saturday's Oregon Sectional.

"Everybody comes to wrestle for the end of the year," Cox said. "It makes him more hungry because he had to sit that out. He's got the ability. If he's able to go at the pace he's going to need to go at the sectional tournament, he can be at the state tournament. I have no doubt in that."

Rocket man

Record: 19-3 (17-3 at 220, 2-0 at 182)

Tournament results: First at Rock Falls Regional; first at Erie; fifth at Riverdale

Ranking: Honorable mention at 195 by Illinois Matmen

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