Manchester senior wrestler Jake Hanzel agreed to share his thoughts and experiences as he traveled to Columbus for the Division III state wrestling tournament. These are his words and memories from his three days at the tournament en route to winning a state championship in the 285-pound weight class.

Manchester senior wrestler Jake Hanzel agreed to share his thoughts and experiences as he traveled to Columbus for the Division III state wrestling tournament. These are his words and memories from his three days at the tournament en route to winning a state championship in the 285-pound weight class.

Thursday

7:15 p.m. - Before my first match, I was walking through the tunnel looking at all the three- and four-time state champions' pictures and thinking how great it felt to be able to be here. As I waited for them to call my name to go out for my match, I just kept telling myself that I deserve to win and I want it more than anybody else.

8:07 p.m. - I pinned my opponent in the first period and celebrated a little bit, but I knew I had three more to go and couldn't celebrate too much. There was still a lot of work left to do.

Friday

7 a.m. - Time to wake up and get a little breakfast before heading to the arena. It's a long day ahead.

8:45 a.m. - Before the action started, I warmed up with (teammate) Drew Brasiel and got ready for my next match.

11:27 a.m. - Another pin, this one in the second round. This time, I celebrated for making it to the semifinals and stayed around to see who I would wrestle next. After that, it was time wait for that night's match.

7:57 p.m. - While I waited for my match, I watched my teammates, Joey Bowen and Drew Brasiel, wrestle, and warmed up for my semifinal match.

8:20 p.m. - As I was walking to the bullpen, I told myself, "Only one more match before I make it to the championship. One more match." One more win before I get a shot at the dream I've been chasing most of my life.

8:29 p.m. - As I was called to the mat, I saw a lot of flashes from cameras in the stands, and I also heard a lot of cheers and boos on my way out. Time to tune those out and focus on the mat.

9:01 p.m. - The closest match so far, but I won 4-3. Afterward, I was very excited, as were my coaches and family. I knew I had a whole day to rest, and I also knew that I had made it to my lifelong goal.

10:04 p.m. - We went back to the hotel and even though I knew who I would wrestled the next day, I tried not to think about it. Just relax, focus and get some rest.

Saturday

5:02 p.m. - After a long day of waiting, it was time to get dressed for the parade of champions. I was nervous walking in the parade, but at the same time, I was excited and very eager to wrestle with all of my adrenaline pumping after the parade.

7:05 p.m. - Being in the 285-pound weight class, I still had plenty of waiting to do. After the parade, I went back to my seat and watched the championship matches up to 160 pounds, then I went to the bullpen to get ready.

9:54 p.m. - It felt like forever waiting to wrestle, and I was nervous up until they called me out onto the mat. The coaches and I prayed before my match and then I knew I was ready. Go time.

10:22 p.m. - I won the match, 6-0. When I realized that I had really won, I couldn't have been happier. After my hand was raised, I sprinted to my coaches for a hug. Then, I found my entire family and I hugged them because I had accomplished my goal in winning a state title and after all of the hard work I put in the weight room, it had paid off in the end.

10:45 p.m. - Being on top of the podium, knowing I was the best in the state in Division III, it was an awesome feeling. As I stood up there and looked out around the arena and received my medal, I couldn't wait to go home and see all of my friends and family and share it with the people who were part of my journey.

11:40 p.m. - After leaving the arena with my first-place medal, I went back to a buddy of mine's aunt's house in the area and celebrated there with a lot of good food, friends and family. As the reality of winning a state championship and achieving a lifelong goal sunk in, I had never felt better.