POCATELLO - The wakeup call came at 5:40 a.m., but Alex Ekins did not get out of bed until 6:15.
The Capital High wrestler doesn't have to worry too much about weigh-ins, so he had two bowls of Fruit Loops and apple juice before leaving the hotel for Holt Arena.
"A lot of my teammates worry about weight, but I usually don't," Ekins said. "I'm usually eight to 10 pounds under weight."
Ekins and the Eagles arrived at Holt around 7:30 a.m. and got in line for weigh-ins. It took so long for Ekins to get through the line that by the time he was done - tipping the scales at 278.4 pounds - the heavyweight had missed open warm-ups on the mat.
By then it was 9:30 a.m., and first-round matches had begun, starting with the 98-pound class. Knowing he had time to waste, Ekins slept on the ground between a row of bleachers for almost two hours.
Teammate Jake Fields jumped on Ekins to wake him up and get him moving around 11:45 a.m.
Ekins' warm-up routine consisted of stretching, "jumping around" and listening to music.
At about 12:30 p.m., Ekins hit the mat for his first match of the day. The senior hardly broke a sweat, pinning Highland's Hunter Diehl in 35 seconds after tripping him in a head-and-arm lock.
"The first match is always the hardest because you've got the bad air in you and you're just coming off of waking up," Ekins said. " It gets better after the first match because you're all warmed up. You know what's going on; you're awake."
The wait for his quarterfinal match was another four hours. Ekins killed time by eating a Subway sandwich, talking with his friends and cheering on teammates.
Just before their quarterfinal matches, Ekins and Fields listened to an inspirational speech called "I am a champion."
"We just say to each other, 'Who am I? I am a champion,' " Ekins said. "It just pumps us both up so much."
Ekins watched Fields win his 220-pound quarterfinal by pin, and then it was his turn.
Using a bear hug, Ekins took down Boise's Joe Santiago by pin in 1 minute.
It's only going to get harder from here.
Ekins will wrestle Meridian's Leo Barba in the semifinals Saturday morning. The two have wrestled twice this season, with each winning one bout.
"It's going to be a real good match tomorrow, and I am really looking forward to it," Ekins said.
Ekins can finish no worse than sixth no matter what happens Saturday, but he has loftier goals after taking fifth last year.
"I feel good. I'm not injured. I'm healthy, I'm happy and I'm satisfied with how I did today," Ekins said. "I've achieved the goals I have for today, but tomorrow I obviously want to win two more and be a state champ."
Before he can wrap up the first day of competition, however, Ekins must weigh in one more time.
"Everybody gets to eat all they want," he said.
Rachel Roberts: 377-6422, Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX