Hayden’s Planansky brothers share barbs, goals and a sport
February 1, 2018
HAYDEN — Wrestling together this season isn't necessarily something noteworthy for Payton Planansky, Jake Planansky and Hunter Planasky, the trio of brothers who make up the backbone of the Hayden High School wrestling team this winter.
Jake Planansky, a senior, has been a part of the Tigers' program for three full seasons already and Hunter, a sophomore, joined last year. It's the first go-around for Payton, a freshman.
Wrestling together in a room, it just didn't feel all that different for the three. It was simply moving the action from one spot — the living room floor — to another — the school's wrestling room.
"Sometimes it gets pretty heated and we try to kill each other," Jake said, "but other times, it's just like at the house. We wrestle all the time there."
The brothers are among those Tigers who are heading full speed toward the end of the season. The regional tournament is just one full week away, and if that goes well, the Class 2A state wrestling tournament looms one week later at the Pepsi Center in downtown Denver.
The Tigers strutted their stuff in front of home fans Thursday in a triangular against Soroco and West Grand.
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Illness and other absences shrank what were already small rosters from each team to the point that the Rams and the Mustangs didn't match up at a single weight and didn't wrestle.
Between the two opponents, Hayden managed to get at least one match for most of its varsity wrestlers
Wyatt Murphy won for the Tigers against West Grand's Angel Dominguez at 126 pounds with a pin. Garrett Murphy pinned West Grand's Gabe DeMattos at 132 pounds and Keenan Hayes registered a 15-0 technical fall against West Grand's Cameron Wood ,at 138 pounds. Jake Planansky pinned West Grand's Ely Ryszkowski, at 145 pounds and Kyler Campbell pinned West Grand's David Santos, at 106 pounds.
Against Soroco, Hayden's Taylor Powell beat Soroco's Gene Bracegridle, 10-8, at 120 pounds and Payton Planansky beat Soroco’s Darrel Ebaugh with a pin, at 113 pounds.
That's a part of a strategy from Hayden coach Chad Jones. The team took last weekend off entirely, as its done in recent seasons. Rather than travel to compete at a tournament, the Tigers gathered together at the high school for a lock-in. They started with a practice, had a good dinner and spent the night playing laser tag and other games, from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. It made for a fine night for Hayden, if not a long one, and it sends the team into its final weekend of action before the regional tournament, a trip to Yoder, Wyoming.
"It's bonding," Jones said. "We find other areas where we all get along besides wrestling. It opens them up a little bit. … Kids focus too much on what's coming up sometimes. They get it too much in their head, who's ranked where, who beat who. It's good to let them remember that it's about how you go wrestle, about what you put into it and to remember why you're doing it, which is because it's fun."
For the Planansky brothers — who’s father, Nick Planansky, serves as an assistant coach on the team — the state tournament is a juicy prize they can't ignore.
None have ever qualified, but all three are hoping for a shot this year. They'll need to finish in the top four in their weight bracket at regionals to make it and they like their chances.
Jake said he's taken a mentorship role in guiding his younger brothers, though, with a grin, he admits it may not always look like "mentorship" from the outside, but more like typical brother-on-brother banter.
Hunter, two years his junior but 25 pounds heavier, is his daily wrestling partner. Jake's experience and quickness counters well against Hunter's size and strength.
"We will supposed to be just drilling, but we'll go all out when we're not supposed to," Hunter said.
"Coach will say one guy go 100 percent and the other guy 80, but that always ends up with both of us going 100 percent," Jake added. "They have to split us up every now and then so we don't hurt each other."
Payton, meanwhile, the youngest and smallest of the bunch, typically wrestles at 106 pounds. When he gets matched up with a brother, whether it's in the living room or the wrestling room, it's more about learning lessons than breaking even.
All three, however, share a goal.
"It would be pretty cool for all three of us to go, the Planansky boys making it to state," Payton said.