Robert Sobarzo stood on the mat and couldn't believe what was unfolding in front of him.
The referee stopped the match, called him for unsportsmanlike conduct, and declared his opponent the winner. As a result, he was tossed from the state tournament, he couldn't accept his award for placing at state or be part of the awards ceremony.
His name would be stricken from the final standings and his team points taken away.
The Desert Vista senior plans on making amends this weekend.
First, the backstory.
At last year's state wrestling tournament, while wrestling for Westview at 135 pounds, Sobarzo had his sights set on winning a Division I state title as the No. 2 seed.
Problem was, he was pinned in the state quarterfinals while leading against Mesa Mountain View's Grant Huber to end that chance. So when he met Huber again in the placement match for fifth and sixth place, he was a bit amped up.
A couple of cross faces with or without intention later, Sobarzo was disqualified because the referee felt it was too much. The DQ meant that his name was scratched from the final bracket so there is just a blank spot.
Zero recognition of his season.
"The ref wasn't having it and I try not to think about it," Sobarzo said. "Last year was last year. I kick myself in the butt when (it gets brought up), but I was young. I think I've matured from it and I have learned to keep my emotions together."
He gets a shot at some redemption this weekend as he and seven of his Thunder teammates head to the Division I state tournament in Prescott Valley at Tim's Toyota Center. Division I starts at 10 a.m. and ends Saturday with the 4:30 p.m. finals.
Chandler junior Dalton Brady is seeking his third straight championship. Brady, who is 115-1 in his career, is 35-0 this season and is the top seed in the 120-pound weight class.
Also seeking a third-straight title is Desert Vista's Robbie Mathers, who is the top seed at 132 pounds. Mathers is already the school's first, two-time state champion and hopes to finish off his senior year with his third title.
Other East Valley wrestlers who are returning state champions are Highland's Curt Done, who won at 130 pounds last year and is in the 138-pound class this year; Mountain View's Seth Monty (champion at 140 last year, top-seeded at 145 this year); Mesa's Dorian Coleman (49-1), who will be defending his 160-pound title; and Desert Vista junior Alex Bambic (34-4), who is the top seed and returning champ at 195 pounds.
In Division II, Marcos de Niza's Jesse Morales is the top-seed at 132 after winning the Div. II title at 130 last year.
Other top-seeded, Division I wrestlers include Horizon's Samson Imonode (44-0) at 152 pounds, Desert Mountain's Dante Patrick (22-1) at 170 and Highland's Christian Allen (42-0) is the top seed at 182.
Apache Junction's Trent McMinn (25-0) is the top seed in 145 and Marcos de Niza's Adam Pavlenko (36-1) is the top seed at 195 in Division II.
Sobarzo (32-6) is in one of the toughest weight classes again and enters the tournament as the fourth seed at 138 with Corona del Sol's Daniel Caratagena (41-1), Chandler's Dalton Moran (31-6) and Sunnyside's Andres Piedra (32-3) on his side of the bracket alone. Horizon's Wood (40-0) and Highland's Curt Done (20-1) are on the bottom half.
"I'll wrestle 110 percent and see what I can do," Sobarzo said after losing to Wood, 10-7, in the sectional finals last week. "I'm pretty confident the work I put in with Robbie (Mathers) and Derek (Allen) is going to pay off."
Allen wasn't exactly happy with his performance at state last year either.
After finishing fifth at state in Class 5A Division I as a sophomore, Allen didn't place while wrestling for Mountain Ridge when he lost in the first round and then Sobarzo knocked him out in the third round of the consolation bracket with a 10-9 win.
"I never worked harder than I did this summer," said Allen, who is 25-9 and seeded seventh at 145. "I don't want to feel (that disappointment) again."