Overcoming fears can give any person a new stronger outlook on things, even when those potential apprehensions have chances on coming back.
A person can let them come back to haunt them or they can just crush the fears for good and take control of their destiny.
The latter is what Dodge City senior Dane Edwards when he took full control of his fears and completed his high school career as the 138-pound champion at the Class 6A state wrestling meet Saturday night at Hartman Arena.
Edwards' fear had been his rival and opponent in the final: Garden City's A.J. Hurtado, a wrestler he had never beaten before this season. That changed about a month ago after a discussion with his parents and his coaches a few days after Hurtado had beaten Edwards in the Newton Tournament of Champions.
Edwards turned around and beat Hurtado in a Western Athletic Conference dual at The New Garden a few days later. However, because of injuries suffered by Hurtado later that week in a tournament in Garden City and Edwards having to take an injury default setback to the Buffalo wrestler in last week's regional; this had been the first time the two had met since Edwards' victory.
"I was scared at first, but I put everything in God's hands," Edwards said. "I went out there and wrestled my style. I really wasn't scared of him, but was more cautious of him this year because I didn't want to mess up. I learned to relax when I wrestled him and was able to just wrestle the way I wanted to."
The final match opened with Edwards getting a takedown in the first period, but Hurtado quickly got an escape for what ended up being his only point. Hurtado called to be in the down position in the second period and Edwards was able to get a near fall with a cradle for the only three points in the second quarter.
Edwards quickly escaped from the down position in the third period, then recorded a take down and another three-point near-fall cradle to complete the scoring and to take the title by an 11-1 major decision.
"I had the mindset going into the match to end my career with a big 'W'," Edwards said. "I had the mindset going into the match with a big W. Beating him was just the icing.
"It was amazing. I wanted it so bad and I knew he wasn't going to give it to me, so I worked for it. Knowing I was going to have to work for it was only going to make it better."
Edwards finished his senior season with 34-3 record and his third medal at the state meet (he was third in 2012 at 126 pounds and sixth in 2011 at 119 pounds). He is the first state champion for the Red Demons since Jesse Trent in 2011 at 285 pounds.
"Edwards had never wrestled in the state finals," said DCHS head coach Lars Lueders. "This was the pinnacle of his career and he wrestled as best as he could and got the win."
The Red Demons did have one streak end in finishing 15th as a team with 49.5 points (the last five DCHS squads finished in the top 10), but that streak wasn't what those who qualified for state had to overcome. The Demons only qualified four to the state meet, but had three earn medals at the meet.
"This season ended more about quality than quantity," Lueders said. "Obviously we want more wrestlers in the state meet, but placed three out of the four wrestlers who went, so we can't be too disappointed about how things went at the state level."
Freshman Clay Weil (38-10) placed fourth at 120 pounds. Weil won his first two matches of the tournament Friday night, then lost a 6-4 decision in the championship semifinals to eventual state champion Kevin Perez of Junction City.
Weil closed out with a win the bracket semifinals and lost in the third place match to finish the weekend with a 3-2 record.
"I could have done a little bit better," Weil said. "A lot of people say that freshman usually don't get on varsity, much less qualify for state; but I'm not a usual freshman. I think I'm a pretty good wrestler and to finish fourth was a good accomplishment."
Lueders added: "Weil's goal was to be a state champ, but he wrestled tough and medaled as a freshman., He'll build experience from here and will have a great career."
Sophomore Jaden McRoberts came back from a first round loss to finish fifth in the in the 113-pound division. McRoberts (34-13) won four of his six matches with both losses coming to Gardner-Edgerton's T.J. Burger.
"I felt like I did pretty good and came out and wrestled like I was supposed to," McPherson said. "I was pleased with getting the medal. I worked all season to get it."
Lueders said McRoberts had the most interesting tournament of all who went with three of his matches going into overtime.
"McRoberts showed a lot of guts to go through the consolation bracket after losing his first match to medal," Lueders said. "He beat a couple of ranked wrestlers and we're real proud of what he did at that consolation bracket."
Garden City won the team title with 173.5 points on the weekend, with Junction City finishing second at 125.5 and Derby third (117.5).