DENVER — A trace of blood covered Will VomBaur‘s teeth as he stopped and took a moment to smile.
He didn’t notice it. Nor did he care after it was brought to his attention.
He was still wrapped up in trying to grasp the magnitude of what had just happened.
Right outside the Pepsi Center tunnel in which he stood is where the Windsor High School freshman said the biggest moment of his life had unfolded just moment prior.
Although he wasn’t sure how long it would take to settle in that he was a state champion, he liked the way it sounded so far.
“I feel the best I’ve ever been in my life,” he said. “I never ask for much, but this is what I’ve really wanted. This is what I’ve been chasing all year, and I finally have it.”
The blood running in VomBaur’s mouth was the aftermath of a gritty match that decided the Class 4A 106-pound champion. And on the other side of the mat was a strong competitor.
VomBaur was matched up with Pueblo East’s Andrew Lucero, who held the No. 1 ranking in their weight class.
Lucero jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead just under 1 minute into the clash and held it until the end of the first period.
That’s when VomBaur went to work.
He responded swiftly in the second, scoring five points to take a 5-3 lead and steal the energy flowing through the Pepsi Center by the end of the second period. He continued to turn Lucero until it finished in a 10-3 victory by decision for the upset.
“As soon as I turned him the first time, I knew I was going to win,” VomBaur said. “Every time it got hard in practice, I just pictured myself in the state finals match, and tonight I got to do it for real.”
VomBaur’s father, Ben, was the first to share the moment with his son. He sat in one of the coaches chairs on the wrestling mat, just as he has ever since Will picked up the sport.
Ben greeted Will with hug directly after his win, then the two waved to his mother and family members who were cheering from the Windsor fan section with tears in their eyes.
“It’s extra special because of how far he’s come in the sport,” Ben said. “He wasn’t a standout youth wrestler but has gradually gotten better through hard work and lots of hours of his life that have paid off.”
“I’m so proud of him.”
Follow sports reporter Quentin Sickafoose at twitter.com/QSickafoose.