Derik Downing conceded it was the longest 20 seconds of his life.
The Nashua-Plainfield sophomore had just picked up three critical back points late in the third period to take a 4-3 lead over Denver’s John Ebaugh, the state’s seventh-ranked wrestler at 160, in his district semifinal match.
Now, all Downing had to do was hang on for 20 ticks of the clock and he’d have the biggest win of his high school career.
“I’m not going to lie, that 20 seconds felt like two minutes,” he said. “All I was doing was hanging on. Really, at that point, that’s all you can do.”
He held on and although he lost his finals match at Saturday’s Class 1A district meet, it didn’t matter. That win over Ebaugh punched Downing’s ticket to the state meet that begins this afternoon at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
He will be joined by teammate Jakob Whitinger, who survived what at times was a rocky day, to finish second at 113 and earn a trip to state for the second consecutive year.
The rest of the story may be found in the Feb. 14 Reporter.