His record didn't show it. His seed didn't show it. But Hayden's Jake Doolin showed he was one of the top 140-pound wrestlers in Colorado by winning his way to the championship match of the Class 2A state tournament.
"I'm so proud of what I did," Doolin said. "This was the greatest tournament of my life."
What he did was win three matches to get a chance for a state title. Hilltop Baptist's Ryan Winters stopped Doolin's title run with a convincing 17-0 technical fall.
"He was too good up top for me," Doolin said. "Considering what I've gone through this season, my finish wasn't bad."
What Doolin went through was a knee injury and periodic illness.
"I missed a lot of match time this year," he said.
He came in to the tournament with an 18-3 record. Only one other competitor had wrestled fewer matches in his bracket -- that wrestler didn't win a match.
Doolin's trip to the finals went like this: In the first round, he defeated Kye Fuston of Sargent, 7-3; in the second round, he took care of Ory Geringer of Crowley County, 8-6; and in the third round, he defeated Jordan Reid of Akron, 8-5.
"The one I'll remember the most is my semifinal win," he said. "I was pumped after that win."
Doolin gave Jordan Reid of Akron his only loss of the season. He won by throwing Reid to the mat with 20 seconds left in the match. Reid avenged his loss to defeat Soroco's Matt Iacovetto, 10-1, for third place. Iacovetto had defeated Doolin in the regional tournament.
Doolin credited his resurgence to the last two weeks of practice.
"I pretty much crammed a whole season into two weeks," he said. "I was out of shape, and coach got me to where I could wrestle like I did."
The two weeks before state, Doolin said all he did was wrestle and think about wrestling.
Could he have won the title if he'd spent another week working out?
"I can't say that," he said. "We'll think about that next year."
The two weeks of hard work coincided with the return of John Svoboda to full-time coaching.
Svoboda had to take time off for shoulder surgery during the season. Ty Zabel, Hayden's coach two years ago, was the interim coach.
Doolin said he was content with his second-place finish.
"This is the best medal and effort I've ever had," he said.
Where will the medal go at home?
"I'll leave that up to my mom," Doolin said. "But I hope there's room for one next year."