In the aftermath of defeat, Moffat County High School seniors Ben Winslow, Cody Nelson and Kye Adams shared a similar retrospective view on their high school wrestling careers.
No matter how it ended, there were no regrets.
The three seniors went into the Feb. 11 and 12 4A western regional tournament with hopes of qualifying for the state meet.
But, all three fell short.
Winslow said he was disappointed in himself for not qualifying, but has learned life lessons from wrestling.
“Wrestling was definitely fun and it turned me into a goal-driven person,” he said. “There is nothing but good memories from my four years.”
Winslow said he started wrestling in second grade and has wrestled every year since, but only two times has he seen a major improvement.
“From my seventh to eighth grade years and my junior year to my senior year, I saw major, major improvements,” he said. “Those are the years I decided I really wanted to be serious about the sport.
“If I wrestled my freshman self, it would not even be a challenge.”
Before his first tournament in his freshman year, Winslow quit the wrestling team because of the stiff competition from his teammates.
When his sophomore year came around, Winslow joined back up.
“My sophomore year I worked hard and improved,” he said. “By my junior year, I wasn’t the best on the team, but I qualified for state.”
Nelson, however, said his biggest change from his four years was taking over a leadership role.
“I have never really been a leader until (my senior year),” he said. “I went to a camp in Meeker and they had no seniors, so I took control and I liked it.”
Nelson said he started wrestling in first grade and was often with Adams on wrestling teams.
While not making it to state stings, Adams said being part of the wrestling team was a good experience.
“I wish I could have gone to state, but it doesn’t bother me too much,” he said. “Being part of the team was great and I have no regrets.”
For Adams, being part of the MCHS varsity wrestling team meant being on a team with his twin brother, Cody Adams.
The two started together when they were in pre-school with help from their dad, who also wrestled in high school.
“I am happy enough that I just got to wrestle,” Adams said. “I wasn’t always able to wrestle, but I enjoyed my time on the mat.”
Adams dislocated his knee in his sophomore year and in his junior year he suffered a broken back.
Despite the injuries, Adams said he still improved in techniques.
“In my freshman year, I couldn’t beat anyone in the wrestling room,” he said. “In my senior season, I was able to compete with anyone.”
Cody Adams qualified in the 189-pound weight class, and while Adams wasn’t able to go with his brother to wrestle in Denver, he said he would be in the stands cheering him on.
“I hope (Cody) does well,” he said. “I want him to make a run for it because he has what it takes (to place).”