Even a busted hip couldn’t make Tommy Traver relax.
The Tunkhannock wrestler was on the receiving end of an illegal move last offseason, and a broken bone in his hip sidelined him from competition for about three months.
Though Traver had to cut out the wrestling portion of his schedule, he’d still wake up at the crack of dawn to get to work.
As his father, Tom, explained, Traver’s typical Sunday schedule is no ordinary summer vacation.
Before and after a morning wrestling practice in Bloomsburg, Traver will hop in his truck and head to a number of farms to lend a hand.
“He likes farming. He likes the cows and likes being outside. He likes hard work,” Tom said. “He likes the type of people who work on farms: independent, strong-willed, hard-working people.”
It should come as no surprise, then, that Traver pushed himself to return to the mat and looked just like his old self by the time this season got into full swing.
After earning his first District 2 title, Traver followed with a fifth-place finish at the Northeast Regional Class 3A tournament at Bethlehem Liberty.
“There’s a lot of good kids at regionals this year at my weight,” Traver said after the district tournament. “I know that I’ve done all I could up to this point to be ready for regionals. Whatever happens, happens. … The biggest thing is just trying to move on.”
Traver become one of the Tigers’ two district champs when he went up big on Coughlin senior Jake Brown, nearly got pinned in a surprise cradle to start to third period and then recovered to hold on for a major decision.
The junior ended the season as a three-time D2 finalist, winning 119 career bouts.
He was again one of the Wyoming Valley Conference’s top wrestlers, but the lifelong, year-round wrestler had a long road back following the worst injury of his career.
At a 2017 offseason tournament, an opponent was whistled for an illegal bow-and-arrow move, in which Traver said his leg was folded behind him and yanked to the side.
The stoppage was too late to prevent injury, though, and Traver was limited to crutches or a cane for the next few months.
His Sundays were still quite busy.
Tom proudly outlined his son’s days, which started with a 5 a.m. wake-up and a 20-minute drive to the farm to help milk cows and bale hay.
He’d come home, wash dye off his hands and typically head to Bloomsburg with teammates for practice.
Even last summer, Traver was back in his truck after lunch for another six hours of farm work later in the afternoon.
It could be in the Travers’ genes; Tom described his dad as a hard-working, recently-retired electrician, while his mother put in weekends, overtime and extra shifts for more than 40 years at a paper manufacturer.
“He’s got that work ethic, you know?” Tom said. “I’m just very proud of him because today, you don’t see a lot of kids that have that kind of work ethic.”
“He always had a physical mindset and a calm, level demeanor, and I think that serves you pretty well in wrestling and life,” he added.
Back on the wrestling mat, Traver said he put in all the extra work he could to get his conditioning back to where it needed to be for the season.
If Traver missed a beat from the time off, it was hard to spot, as he finished the year with a 40-4 record.