The state wrestling tournament is always a pleasure for me to attend. There are so many microcosms of life that occur during the three-day event.

The ultimate experience is the unbridled joy demonstrated by those who have reached the pinnacle of their high school sport after working so hard.

Extracurricular activities give students an opportunity to further their skills in areas of athletics, agriculture, music, drama, leadership, forensics and others. It is in these realms where students learn the merits of hard work, teamwork, discipline, time management, punctuality, goal setting, sportsmanship and many others.

In addition, students learn how to deal with temporary setbacks, correction, losses, injury, officials/judges, pressure and self-doubt. All of these lessons help mold students into well-rounded citizens.

My perspective is from that of an athlete, coach and father/uncle of athletes and dancers. That is why I can see so many of the emotions experienced by athletes unfold at the state wrestling tournament.

However, I feel certain that the work, lessons and disappointments are mirrored by those whose talents are used in the arts and other areas.

If my calculations are correct, there are 896 wrestlers in four school classes and 14 weight classes that earn their way to the state tournament. In the end, 14 wrestlers in each of the four classes earn the title of state champion.

Congratulations to Dalton Hembree who won the Class 1 state championship at 126 pounds. The top six finishers earn a state medal. Congratulations to Levi Connely (2nd), Max Roark (3rd), Dawson Stephens (5th), Dayton Fields (3rd), Trey Smith (2nd), and Lance Hymer (4th) for earning a medal. I am proud of ALL of our wrestlers and coaches for the work that they invested to help us earn a 2nd place team finish.

However, for me there is so much more to the state tournament.

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