Steamboat Springs wrestling coach Jay Muhme knows exactly how senior heavyweight Will Zimmerer is feeling after he literally missed qualifying for the state tournament by one second.
"I really feel for him because I know how it feels," Muhme said after Zimmerer's fifth place finish, one place away from the state tournament. "I made one mental slip and it cost me a state title.
"Will just made one bad decision and it cost him. It's something he will think about for years."
In the consolation semifinal Zimmerer pulled a reversal on Ralston Valley's Adam Graves with 34 seconds remaining to tie the match. As the final seconds ticked down from the third period Graves started to get loose and Zimmerer pulled him towards the out of bounds line. At the very moment the towel hit the back of the referee Graves spun away from the Sailor senior, earning a point and spinning Zimmerer out of a possible trip to state.
"I was just thinking that I had to stay on top at all costs," said Zimmerer, who was the only Sailor wrestler to place in the tournament. "It just didn't happen."
Muhme acknowledged that so much is going through a wrestler's head in the final seconds of a close match, one slip can cost dearly.
"In tight matches one bad instinct can lose it," Muhme said. "If Will steps out of bounds with his opponent he goes to overtime.
"He stayed in and it cost him."
Zimmerer finished the tournament with a win in his last match for fifth place. After he signed his final card of his high school career the turn of events still seemed surreal.
"It doesn't feel like it's over," he said. "It can't be over."
The heavyweight division may have been the toughest at the Class 4A Western Regional. Four of the top five ranked wrestlers -- including Zimmerer, who was ranked fourth -- battled in Craig for a trip to the Pepsi Center.
"This heavyweight bracket was stacked full of studs," Muhme said. "It's a shame a few great kids will be left home."
Zimmerer's athletic career isn't over as he will attend Mesa State to play football next year, and Muhme said they will be getting a great person as well as athlete.
"Will will go on to do great things," he said. "I told the Mesa State coach, 'he's the perfect coachable athlete, he'll do anything you ask him and