DENVER — It's a sight that never gets old for a capacity crowd at Pepsi Center. With all eyes toward the center of the floor, Poudre's Jacob Greenwood capped a remarkable wrestling career.
The final whistle blew. He extended four fingers to the sky. The moment was his and will be immortalized in CHSAA history.
Greenwood is the 21st wrestler in state history, and the first from the Fort Collins area, to never suffer a loss on the Pepsi Center floor. His final victory came in the Class 5A 145-pound championship match over Grand Junction's Dylan Martinez and as his hand was raised the pressure of his pursuit left his shoulders. Greenwood won in overtime, 4-2.
For the most part, the tournament seemed to be an easy run for Greenwood, but the overall journey took an admitted toll on him.
"Not easy," he said. "I've struggled with believing in myself for a long time. It takes a lot of leaning on God and trying that He would take care of me just to believe in myself and wrestle like He made me to."
His career at state began the way many will perceived it ended. Greenwood was dominant. He earned a technical fall over Gateway's Jordan White and followed it up with another technical fall in the second round.
But what will go overlooked in his established legacy are the close calls that nearly stopped his run before it gained any momentum.
In his semifinal match his freshman year, it took overtime, but he grabbed a sudden victory to earn a chance at title No. 1.
Standing in his way for that title was Legacy's Ryan Deakin. All Deakin had accomplished was running the table in the previous year, going 42-0 en route to the 113-pound title.
Greenwood wasn't scared and showed that even as a freshman, he was built to thrive on the biggest of stages. The tightly-contested battle went to overtime where Greenwood grabbed his second-straight sudden victory. But this one made him a champion and served as the turning point of his then-young career.
"My freshman year was pretty rough," Greenwood said. "Like I said, I had to fight a lot of self-doubt. Getting those two wins my freshman year helped me boost my confidence a little bit."
As an experienced sophomore, Greenwood dominated the field in 2016. His toughest match was in the 132-pound championship where he beat Monarch's Cole Polluconi by a 15-4 major decision.
The story was the same his junior year. Two falls were followed by a 9-4 decision in the semis. Coronado's K.J. Kearns became the third man to fall to Greenwood in a championship. Greenwood won the 138-pound title by a 16-5 major decision.
At that moment, all eyes were going to be on the Impalas standout. As a freshman, he made it his goal to claim four titles. Coming into this season, the expectations were high not just from the wrestling community, but from himself.
His start to 2018 was right in line with what he had done the last three years. He grabbed a 20-4 technical fall win over Ralston Valley junior Colton Frost-Bryant. He pinned Legend's Erik Cumley, and beat Rocky Mountain's Tate Martinez by a 17-6 major decision.
Each win put him closer to glory.
The decision victory, the most difficult championship win since his freshman year brought his final night at Pepsi Center full circle.
"I was thinking about that earlier," Greenwood said. "I was wearing the singlet I wore my freshman year. My coaches were in the same corner they were; opposite of the other two years. We stood on the same that I did my freshman year in the parade of champions. I kind of had a weird feeling that it wasn't going to be like the last two years."
He worked his way through the field on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday night, he entered the arena at Pepsi Center in the Parade of Champions. He stood with those seeking their first titles. He stood with those looking to repeat as champions for the first time.
He stood with four others who hoped to follow in his shoes next year.
But somehow, standing with friends and fellow competitors, he perhaps the loneliest one on the floor. This was his journey to complete. This was his moment to seize.
He did just that and there is not a person on the planet that can take it away from him.
"I don't know if it's sunk in yet," Greenwood said. "During this tournament, I haven't really been thinking about my fourth title. I've just been thinking about getting a 2018 state title."
There is no telling what's in store for Greenwood when he heads to Wyoming next year. But as long as there is wrestling in the state of Colorado, as long as the greatest wrestlers in history are honored before each championship Saturday, Greenwood will be forever be remembered for what he accomplished Saturday night.
The crowd at Pepsi Center gave him a much-deserved standing ovation. He waved back, showing emotion and gratitude for the support. The spirit of the state wrestling tournament is embodied in what Greenwood accomplished, and in return, he will forever remain a part of its legacy.