The relief on his face was evident as the final seconds ticked away on his high school wrestling career, and Cuba City senior Jarod Donar knew exactly what he had just accomplished.
With a 3-0 victory over Somerset's Gabe Flandrick last Saturday night, Donar collected his fourth state wrestling title and finished his high school career with a perfect 189-0 record in front of a standing crowd at UW-Madison's Kohl Center.
Donar became only the third wrestler in state history to go undefeated all four years of high school, joining Matt Hanutke (119-0) of Pittsville and Kevin Black (169-0) of River Falls.
It was advice that he received from Black during his freshman year, that he quickly recalled following his D2 138-pound title match.
"He said you have to win one title before you can win two, and you have to win two before you can win three, and you have to win the third before you win that fourth. You just can't look ahead," said Donar.
After going 46-0 as a freshman, 48-0 as a sophomore and 49-0 as a junior, Donar finished his senior wrestling season with a record of 46-0.
His four state titles makes him the 12th wrestler in state history to accomplish such a feet.
"It's a dream come true to end it with that fourth state title," Donar said with a huge smile on his face. "It's awesome, but I can't really describe it in words right now."
Donar was awarded with a standing ovation from the Kohl Center crowd once his championship match concluded, something that was very much appreciated by the kid wearing a target on his back for much of his career.
"Everyone wants to see you lose. The crowd here a few years ago was cheering against me, but now when you're winning your fourth one they all want to see it happen," Donar said.
Those who don't know Jarod Donar may assume he is arrogant or full of himself, but in all honesty that couldn't be the furthest thing from the truth.
He got where he is through years of hard work and a determination that never faltered along the way. If confidence is mistaken for arrogance, than that's not Jarod's fault.
When describing what makes his prized pupil so special, coach Bob Hahn, is never at a lack of words.
"It's just the way he goes about it. He has a great work ethic," Hahn said. "People don't know the amount of time he puts into this. He works in the summer. It's not something that he comes into the room in the middle of November and wrestles until the end of February and hangs it up until the next year."
"He's a class act, and he deserves all the recognition he's getting. He's worked hard for it."
After winning his state quarterfinal match with a 17-2 technical fall, and then his semifinal match with a 9-0 major decision, Donar had a date with destiny on Saturday night.
Standing in his way of history-making performance was Gabe Flandrick of Somerset, who brought with him a season record of 43-3.
"I was just thinking I have to stay focused," said Donar. "I knew that kid, had watched a few tapes on him, and knew that he was going to be really tough."
"I had a great adrenaline rush. My brother, before I walked out on that mat, said all those hard practices, all those days when you were dying and puking, he said you just have to put that all on the mat right here, and go out there and get it done," Donar added.
Donar, who has been involved in hundreds of big matches during his career, admitted after the match that nerves aren't ever a factor with him.
"Definitely not. I never really feel nervous or anything," Donar said. "I get that tingly feeling through my body of an adrenaline rush. My hands get cold before I walk out on the mat. It's kind of indescribable, but it's an awesome feeling."
With the championship match finally underway, it was obvious to coach Hahn early on what Flandrick's strategy was, and that Jarod would be ready for anything.
"I knew the kid was going to try to make it a one-move match, stay within a point and try to get lucky in the very end, but Jarod is a little too smart for that," Hahn said. "There's been a lot of guys that have tried that, to keep it close and try to get lucky, but it isn't going to happen."
In Saturday's championship match, neither wrestler scored a point in the first period, and in the second, Donar started in the down position, scored an escape, and took a 1-0 lead into the third.
Late in the third when it looked like Flandrick was ready to make his move, Donar countered and scored on a take down with only seconds remaining in the match, collecting a 3-0 victory.
"When (Flandrick) was in that over-under, we knew what he was going to try," said coach Hahn. "Jarod is a national Greco champion, he doesn't get thrown too often."
A smile quickly came over Donar's face when the final buzzer had sounded, and you could literally see the weight of the world being pulled off his shoulders when the referee raised his hands in victory.
After an amazing high school wrestling career, Donar will now take his talents to the University of Minnesota, where he accepted a wrestling scholarship earlier in the season.
Joining Donar at this year's state wrestling tournament was sophomore cousin J.J. Donar and senior teammate Scott Digman.
J.J. concluded the season with a sixth-place finish in the D2 113-pound weight class, and wound up with a season record of 41-8.
Digman (34-6) did not place at state after suffering a 6-3 loss in Thursday's preliminary round to Kyndle Bennett of Delavan-Darien.