PRESCOTT VALLEY - James Sanchez's smile looked like it could last a lifetime on Thursday, while Matt Sohky had a gash on his left check that trickled blood.
Whether happy as can be or worse for the wear, both wrestlers wake up Friday morning with the chance to be state champions.
Tempe's Sanchez will go for the 132-pound Division III title at Tim's Toyota Center after beating Tucson Sabino's Matt Rapp 13-6 in the semifinals. Campo Verde heavyweight Sohky outlasted Tempe's Sidney Causey in four overtimes to win 4-3 with an escape in the final sudden death period.
The rest of the East Valley didn't fare very well, but will get a chance to wrestle back for third place as six other wrestlers lost in the semifinals.
Sanchez was the first to break through and the senior was happy to finally reach the spotlight match after finishing third as a sophomore and fifth last year.
"I trained really hard with my coach and approached every day as it was a championship match," he said. "I thought I could have been better (than fifth) last year and it motivated me all year to make sure I had a chance to win state."
Sohky finished fourth at sectionals last week and entered this tournament unseeded but knocked off the second and third seed on the way to the finals.
"We told him there was no reason he couldn't flip it around and make the finals," said Campo Verde coach Chris Bishop of his three-time state qualifier. "He is so much better in strength (than previous years) and just believing he could do it."
Campo Verde continued its great season, its first with seniors, as the Coyotes are in sixth place with 63.5 points in the team standings. In addition to Sohky, Campo Verde has eight wrestlers alive in the consolation.
One of those is 138-pounder Rand Hawk, who lost 13-4 in the semis to Payson's Jacob Spear.
Combs' Ted Rico was the fourth seed a 113-pounds and led 9-6 in the third period but was pinned by Show Low's Blake Schweigert, who is the top seed, in 5:23.
Higley's Zack Yazzie (220) wrestled Tucson Amphitheater's Floyd Jones closely for two periods, trailing 4-0 before being pinned in 5:12.
In Division IV, every area competitor who qualified for the semifinals was sent to the consolation.
Canyon State's No. 1 seed Derek Schiefer (160) and Talon Higgins (182) were overwhelmed as the former lost 13-7 to St. John's Jared Anderson and Higgins, who led 5-0, was pinned by St. Johnson's Tyler Johnson.
Seton Catholic's Alex Bacon (152) lost 15-6 to St. John's Brock Crosby while Seton Catholic's Alex Farrar lost 9-6 to Yuma Catholic's Ryan Gill.