PRESCOTT VALLEY – Cody Lewis remembered the pain, the tears and isolation that he felt sitting in an arena filled with people.
It was possibly the darkest moment of his young life, but he didn’t let it go for naught.
He turned it around, applied that misery to something that mattered and returned to the scene this weekend.
The fact that he didn’t place at the state tournament last year after finishing sixth as a sophomore drove the Desert Ridge senior to become the program’s first state champion.
Lewis beat Brophy’s Luke Jacobs 6-4 in overtime on Friday for the 160-pound title. The program finally has a picture to go along with the empty frame that hangs under the state champion board.
“This was the last chance I had to win it,” he said. “I was going to do everything I could.”
He never forgot how devastated he was a year ago.
“Last year, broke my heart,” he said. “I was balling for 20 to 30 minutes. I didn’t want to see anyone. I was livid. The coaches kept saying remember what happened last year and it would drive me even more.”
Lewis trailed Jacobs 4-2 in the final 30 seconds, but tied it with a takedown. He got a second life in the OT and pulled it off with a scramble for the takedown after taking a shot.
“I’ve been drawn to this sport ever since I started in the fourth grade,” he said. “My dad called me the Tasmanian Devil because I didn’t know any technique and I would just go as fast as I could.”
Eventually, everything slowed down except maybe his heartbeat when he stood on top of the podium with the state bracket and medal in his hand.
“I’ve been wrestling my whole life,” he said with huge smile. “This means everything to me.”
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.