It all happened so quickly.

The match was tied. And if the crowd was forced to witness overtime between The Classical Academy's Nathan Johns and Air Academy's Brady Badwound, the fans wouldn't have been mad.

This was a battle between two of the best wrestlers in the Pikes Peak region.

On Thursday night, it looked like the 182-pound match was headed to extra time. The score was tied 1-1 with about five seconds left, thanks to each wrestler earning an escape earlier. Johns felt tired and had in mind a breather before going back at it.

Badwound, however, had other plans.

He attacked. He caught Johns off balance. And just before the buzzer sounded, he earned a takedown. Badwound celebrated by facing a mostly home crowd at the Air Academy gym -- with many there to celebrate Badwound and two other wrestlers on Senior Night.

Perhaps because he didn't hear the buzzer, Johns got up and took one last shot, though he stopped himself short of issuing a full takedown. In this moment, Badwound didn't fight back. The match was over.

All this happened in just five seconds.

Final score: Badwound 3, Johns 1.

It helped the Kadets secure a 39-30 win over TCA. Another match took place afterward, but all anyone could talk about was the finish between Badwound and Johns.

To Badwound, this was more than a match. It was an opportunity to show his worth against a wrestler who won a Class 3A state title last year.

"Beating a kid like Johns makes you realize how good you really are," Badwound said. It "gives you thoughts on what I could be become."

Of course, he wants to be a state champ.

Last season, Badwound lost in the 160 semifinals at the Class 4A state tournament to the eventual state winner, Longmont's Drake Engelking. He battled through the consolation rounds to claim fifth place.

Badwound's record improved to 27-4 on Thursday, but a win wasn't the only thing he earned. It also gave him more confidence with the state tournament just a couple weeks away.

He entered Thursday with a 28-0 record. But he said he's still building up his endurance. He had a late start to the wrestling season because of an offseason knee injury. He didn't practice until late December while other wrestlers already had a month or so worth of training and matches.

So when the third and final round of regulation was about to expired Thursday, Johns looked forward to taking a short break. That didn't happen, however.

"I was expecting to go overtime," he said. "My condition isn't up where I should be, so I was dying. I saw the clock and I was like, 'All right, we'll go overtime, reset and I'll keep going.' Then there was that mental slip that enabled him to take that shot and put in that extra effort when I was just holding."

Johns wasn't too hard on himself after the match.

He said his strong Christian faith will help him move forward. "Everybody has to lose at some point," he added. "Better to do that now than at state."


Chhun Sun is a sports reporter with an emphasis in preps. He joined The Gazette in April 2015 and covered public safety for three years before joining @gazettepreps staff. The Thailand-born Cambodian-American has been in journalism for nearly two decades.

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