The 65th annual West Virginia state wrestling tournament is officially in the books.
It's hard to realize the folks in attendance on Saturday night more than likely witnessed something that never will happen again, the coronation of three four-time state champions - each of whom are from the local area.
Ripley's Adam Bicak, Parkersburg South's David Jeffrey and Roane County's Dylan Cottrell each won their fourth state crown.
I suppose I'm a little biased toward Cottrell, mainly because he caught my eye several years back when he was terrorizing teams in youth league football games.
It was something else to witness Clay County's Harley Hamrick make the state finals against Cottrell, especially considering the Panther didn't reach the finals of the Little Kanawha Conference tournament. Unfortunately for Hamrick, he was pinned 35 ticks before the second period was over.
Although I didn't hear of anyone saying anything one way or the other, I find it hard to believe if anyone else in state tournament history ever has gone all 16 matches of their career without being scored upon at the big show.
After Cottrell won his fourth title, I asked him which wrestler if any actually came the closest to scoring against him.
"Actually, probably the closest one was last year when I was wrestling 135," Cottrell explained. "I wrestled a kid in the quarterfinals. His name was Luke Goodlin from Oak Glen. I had locked up a cradle pretty tight and it slipped out and he rolled up over it. I about gave up one for an escape, but I was holding that leg for dear life. I think that was the closest one to it. I was pretty scared on that one."
Cottrell's practice partner, Sam Whiting capped quite a career and finished at 44-0 with the 152-pound title after being the runner-up at 130 last winter.
"I finally got my win that I've been looking for my whole life," Whiting said. "It was pretty good to go undefeated my senior year. It's been good to be a Raider.
"Dylan has helped me out along the way being practice partners since our freshmen year. We worked each other hard and that's where it got us now."
While Whiting said he plans on going into the workforce after high school, Cottrell said he doesn't think he's giving up the headgear.
Perhaps more importantly for Cottrell, though, was being able to watch Whiting follow him at 145 with a crown at 152.
"That's better than anything," Cottrell said of Whiting finishing on top. "It's great for me to win. That's awesome stuff, but as a friend, me and him have been best friends forever. I love the kid to death. To see him be able to go out there and win that, it's huge for me.
"I don't think this was my last match. Hopefully, I'll crack into some college lineup next year, being Division I or Division II, either way. I'm pretty sure it's going to be wrestling. If you see me next year, it's going to be on the mats."
Contact Jay Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org