Senior wrestler adds academic all-state honors to state championship comeback after ACL injury

Bonds commits to Texas Wesleyan University team

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Sion King

Senior Rylan Bonds wrestles his opponent during the competition for the state champion title. Bonds wrestles in the 220-pound weight class. "My motivation was to just come back and prove I could be there," Bonds said. "Even though I had gotten hurt, I could still wrestle. When I won state, it felt like it was a dream almost, it took me a couple of days to realize I actually won.”

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When senior wrestler Rylan Bonds suffered a serious injury in his left leg, he was unsure if he would wrestle his last season of high school. But after a determined recovery, Bonds finished the season as the 6A wrestling state champion of the 220 pounds weight class.

He qualified for state after he placed second in the region competition, and he won the UIL state championship Feb. 22. Bonds committed to attend Texas Wesleyan University for wrestling April 15. The same week, he received academic all-state first-team honors.

“I tore my ACL and the ligaments in my left knee, and the day before region, I strained my hamstring,” Bonds said. “After the first injury, as soon as I got back, I just didn’t want anything to hold me back.”

Although he was out for most of the season, Bonds worked on rehabilitation before training.

“I was worried about his chances of coming back to wrestle,” Coach Sion King said. “But as the process of healing went on, I got more encouraged. What helped more than anything was Rylan’s work ethic. Not a lot of kids would have made it back from an injury like that.”

“Sitting out most of the season, coming back from an injury, he wasn’t training like everyone else,” King said. “But he worked so hard with the things that he could, he ended up outworking his opponents.”

Bonds’ practice partner Josiah Squires said the team didn’t know if he would recover in time for the rest of the season.

“While Rylan (Bonds) was still recovering and doing his physical therapy, there was only so much the team could do for him,” Squires said. “Until he was cleared and able to work out, we could only give him encouragement.”

King said Bonds has wrestled since middle school, and his focus and drive helped him win the state title.

“A lot of training was mental, I would stretch before and go in with the intention to leave everything I had on the mat,” Bonds said. “My team has done so much to support me. They were there by my side the entire time and pushed me along.”

Bonds said he wanted to prove he still belonged on the mat, and that even though he was injured, he could still wrestle. 

“I was sitting on the front row watching his match when he won the state title,” Squires said. “I was just happy for my friend that achieved what he set out to do. At the moment, I couldn’t believe it, but in the end, I’m proud of him and all that he’s done this season.”

In the final match, Bonds defeated Klein high schooler Xavier Diaz for the championship title.

“Everything has to align and go well, and his team was a big part of pushing and helping him,” King said. “I’ve had state champs in the past, and they never accomplish it in the same way. The only similarities are that all of them are driven, and all of them work hard every day. Every time they come in, they give it 100% effort in practices.”

For information on how to serve on the 2020-2021 wrestling booster club, please email Prosper wrestling coach Sion King (scking@prosper-isd.net)  or Rock Hill wrestling coach Huey Huynh (hphuynh@prosper-isd.net).