Jasper's Milanes goes undefeated in return from injury


Jainier Milanes

PRINCETON — An injury forced Jasper’s Jainier Milanes to miss some action in the early going, but results indicate he did not miss a step when he returned to the mat on Saturday.

The junior Jasper wrestler made his season debut at Princeton in the Big Eight Conference duals. Milanes had an injury to his left hand that sidelined him when the Wildcats opened their 2019-20 season Dec. 5 against Floyd Central. However, last year’s semi-state qualifier went a perfect 4-0 while representing Jasper in the 106-pound class. Milanes won two matches and received a couple of wins by forfeit to help the Wildcats finish second overall in the five-team meet.

Milanes said he was excited for his first match. He faced off against C.J. Blue of Mount Vernon. Milanes said he got tired through the match, but he managed to work his way around that. He made sure to wrestle smart and hold his opponent on the bottom. Milanes scored a 10-3 win by decision.

“It was good for me to return,” Milanes said.

Milanes broke a bone in his hand to sideline him for the first part of the season, and he said he still felt some pain on Sunday. Milanes said one of his fingers in his hand was hurting, but said he is getting better. Milanes made sure to lift weights using his hands.

“I had a cast for four weeks,” he said. “It was hard.”

His cast was taken off on Dec. 9. It was tough for him to watch his teammates wrestle while he was out of commission, but was so happy to return. Milanes looked to get some take downs and pin his opponent within two minutes. He scored a win via fall against Princeton’s Jared Dunn in 91 seconds in his latter match of the day. Milanes said he felt better during his second match.

“The second match was more easy for me,” he said.

Wildcats coach Jace Brescher said the coaching staff was conservative with him. The coaches wanted Milanes to work on technique and not go for the pin immediately, but knew it would take longer to get his conditioning up to full speed. Milanes said he was about 75 percent in his conditioning when he wrestled on Saturday.

Brescher thought 75 percent was a good estimate. However, he thought Milanes’ technique was lacking since he hadn’t been on the mat until Saturday this year. Brescher added the coaching staff at Jasper is working on the rust Milanes has.

“He wrestled well yesterday, but he’s not quite where he was last year at the end of the season,” Brescher told The Herald on Sunday.

Brescher is hoping Milanes can get to that point by the Dec. 27-28 Spartan Classic at Connersville.

Milanes looks to keep working hard this week with his conditioning and making sure his hand continues to get better. The Wildcats are slated to be in action Tuesday at Vincennes Lincoln, along with Pike Central in a triangular. Jasper is also scheduled to grapple Saturday at Bloomington North in the Bo Henry Classic.

Brescher said the coaches will push Milanes a bit more on Tuesday, since he’ll only have two matches, and see how he feels for the Bo Henry Classic. The coach is looking for his junior grappler to fine tune his technique and get more mat time. Brescher wants Milanes to not only get the win, but also push himself. He sees all of the matches as an opportunity to get ready for the postseason.

He said Milanes has “definitely got the potential” to qualify for state.

“We need to bring out the consistency of what he’s capable of every single match,” Brescher said. “That’ll be the biggest battle throughout, that is to stay consistent. Whenever he’s his toughest, he’s definitely hard to beat, and he puts out potential for a state qualifer, state place winner, but we’ve got to have that Jainier step out on the mat consistently.”

“If I trust myself, if I’m working hard, I probably can make it to state this year,” Milanes said.


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