After countless hours of training, early morning sweat sessions and moments where sanity may have been in jeopardy throughout the year -- the season came down to six more minutes for senior Jake Breslin on Saturday at the 4A State Wrestling Championships in Denver.
The 125-pound wrestler made the most of it in the championship bout, and he only needed less than two minutes to do it.
Breslin pinned Jordan Garcia of Pueblo West in the first period to earn the state title.
"I am glad I won," a smiling Breslin said afterward. "It feels great. Last time here (at state) I went 2-and-2 and was one match away from placing."
Breslin made good on a personal goal of not losing to the same opponent twice in one season, after being on the short end of loss to Garcia in a previous match in Rifle.
"My theory is that nobody beats me twice in one season," he said.
Breslin's state title helped the Bulldogs to an eighth-place team finish, with 74 points, out of 46 teams.
Senior 189-pounder Nick Navratil entered his final competition with a 40-0 regular-season record.
Sonny Yohn of Alamosa had other credentials entering the bout: two state titles.
Yohn made it three, pinning Navratil in the second-period.
"I gave it my best, but tonight it just wasn't good enough," Navaratil said with his hands on his forehead. "Tonight he was just a better wrestler."
The MCHS Bulldog pinned Yohn last year, but said his opponent used different moves this time around.
"I am happy because I wrestled my best," Navaratil said. "I wasn't scared at all. I felt fine when I started out, then he just shacked me."
Coach Roman Gutierrez said his previously undefeated wrestler was simply outwrestled.
"I guess that's why he (Yohn) is a three-time state champion," Gutierrez said, noting Navaratil had an outstanding season overall.
Earning his medal
Junior Matt Kincheloe, a 130-pounder, can sleep a little better now.
After compiling a regular-season record of 29-7 and a third-place finish at regionals, Kincheloe couldn't sleep the night before his fifth-sixth place bout.
"Coming into this building and placing... it is just awesome," he said. "This is a scary place."
He lost to Kyle Holman of Alamosa, 14-4.
And for his first-time at state, he was fine with that.
"Yeah--and I got a medal," he said with a radiating smile. "I thought sixth-place just got a ribbon. This is just awesome."
A final match
The finality of a high-school wrestling career brings out a lot of emotions.
Moffat County High School senior Trenton Duarte extended his stay at state, but a third-round consolation loss to Steven Haddock of Longmont brought the 171-pound wrestler's MCHS career to an end.
Duarte lost 7-2. He was one match away from the medal round.
Sitting alone, far away from the screaming fans, the teen struggled to put his Bulldog experience into words.
"I don't know what happened out there," he said. "We've been practicing so hard and doing so good in practice. ... I don't even know what happened. I was seeing things, but couldn't get it done."
With some wins and some loses, overall Gutierrez was pleased with his team.
"I think overall the kids were so darn tough," the coach said. "The thing about state is that there are no holes -- every weight class is tough from top to bottom. It is very well balanced."
Drew Turner can be reached at 824=7031, ext. 211, or at email@example.com