Bluestem senior Hazen Benton has kept a positive outlook despite suffering a knee injury that caused him to miss most of his senior season with the Bluestem wrestling team.

“Last year, my patella popped out of place and it was out of place for an hour while we waited for the ambulance,” said Benton.

“I wrestled three tournaments this year. We thought my knee was okay, but I had a torn tendon. We had surgery, and that helped me have more time in the gym to train for powerlifting.”

Benton was able to focus on the bench press, which led to a state championship and a state record at the 2A state powerlifting competition. Benton bench pressed 280 pounds to take first in the 148-pound weight class and set a new state record.

“I was wanting to get more, but I was just happy I could get the job done,” Benton said.

“Finding out about the torn tendon kind of messed me up. I was really sad about that. God gave me the opportunities to work out everyday— the weights that I could still do. It’s kind of a blessing when I think about it, that I had more time to come to the gym and it definitely helped me get my bench press up for state powerlifting. There’s a blessing, even though I was really bummed out about [my injury].

This is the second straight bench press state title for Benton, who took first in the 140-pound weight class last year.

Benton will get the chance to wrestle again next year as he has signed with York College in York, Nebraska.