Jimmy Weaver waited until after the season to reveal he'd been wrestling with a broken finger since December.
After sustaining a fracture above the knuckle on his right index finger at the Northern Colorado Christmas Tournament, trainers tried to stabilize it by taping it to his middle finger, and then dummy wrapped his left hand in hopes of keeping the opposition in the dark. But it was of little comfort.
The price of Weaver's first state title would come with his fair share of agony.
"I think by state everyone knew," said Weaver, who won the Class 5A 182-pound title on his way to becoming The Gazette's Heavy Weights Wrestler of the Year. "They were targeting it a bit. I can't blame them."
Weaver, doing his best to ignore the pain that washed over him with every bend and twist of his finger, went 41-1 and was the top-ranked wrestler in the 5A 182s for much of the year per Tim Yount's On The Mat Rankings.
In January he won his first Colorado Springs Metro Championships title, and three weeks later he added his first regional title to fortify himself as a top seed at the state tournament.
At state, he rewrote his legacy from despair to delight a year after his tournament ended in concussion as he got an early takedown of Ponderosa's Jayden Woodruff in the finals and held on for a 2-1 decision.
"It was crazy," said Weaver, who will go onto wrestle at the Air Force Academy. "Coming into the last few seconds on the edge, it was just about staying tough and listening to my coaches."
Weaver's title also brought a fitting end to Matt Brickell's three-decade career as the coach of Coronado's wrestling team. Brickell was next to the first state champ he coached, Gabe Burak, who is the team's assistant wrestling coach, as he witnessed Weaver become his 14th and final champ.
Brickell, who announced his retirement four years earlier before returning a short time later, says he stayed for as long as he did because of Weaver.
"(Former assistant principal at Coronado) Darin Smith, who is now the principal, asked me to come back and then Jimmy Weaver came in - and he's such a good kid," Brickell said. "It was kind of one of those things I wanted to finish out with him and Stevie (Dabelko)."
Weaver added that he "kind of guilted" Brickell into sticking around.
"It was just real special to get that for him," he said.
Weaver will wrestle under Falcons coach Sam Barber in the Big 12 Conference next season. He says earning a spot in the lineup will be priority No. 1.
"Hopefully I can win a spot on the team freshman year," Weaver said. "We'll see how that goes, but that's the plan, that's the goal first and foremost. And then go out and win matches and help the team out as much as I can."