It isnt often that an Idaho high school senior walks away from the wrestling mat as a four-time state champion.
The feat has only occurred 17 times since 1958, the first year the Idaho High School Activities Association began keeping records.
Only twice in tournament history have two athletes wrapped up their careers with four straight titles in the same year 2000 and 2006.
This season, three wrestlers have a chance to make history.
Centennials Hayden Tuma will go for the four-peat in the 145-pound weight class in the 5A classification, while Kunas Michael Cook (132) and Columbias Tristian Jarboe (145) aim to become the first wrestlers in the 4A classification to win four in a row.
Their quest for elite status begins at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday at the Ford Idaho Center in Nampa, where nearly 950 wrestlers will compete. Championship matches start at 3 p.m. Saturday.
Tuma, Cook and Jarboe each need to win four straight matches in their 16-man bracket to make it to the top of the podium. Its enough pressure to be a defending state champion, but how about a three-time defending state champion?
Nobody really, other than the 17 other people in Idaho history, can realize what kind of pressure those kids are going through. There hasnt been a day thats gone by this year for any of those kids where it hasnt been talked about, Columbia coach Todd Cady said.
The pressure thats on them is unreal. Theres 15 other guys in each of their brackets that are talking about being the guy that knocks them off. Its tough, those kids are going to get everyones best effort every time someone steps on the mat with them.
Kuna coach Pat Owens whose older brother, Chris, won four titles for Idaho Falls from 1985-88 and later a national title at Oklahoma State said reaching elite status is a full-time effort.
It obviously takes tremendous talent, a great work ethic and a commitment to really wrestling, Pat said. I would venture to guess that of those 17, the majority were wrestling-only type guys.
Tuma and Cook both No. 1 seeds at state compete nationally in the offseason, but the second-seeded Jarboe is in a category all his own. The Columbia senior has a natural ability, but has mostly stayed involved in the sport because his friends compete.
He doesnt have the desire and the drive that most kids that have had his success have, said Chris Jarboe, Tristians dad and an assistant coach at Columbia.
He goes out and he does it, and he works hard while hes there. He has a lot of natural talent that a lot of kids dont, but he has a desire not to lose, and I think thats what has kept him around and made him so successful.
Said Cady: Those of us that are fans of (Tristians) that have worked with him for so long just wonder what he could accomplish if ever he fell in love with the sport, kind of like Hayden and Michael.
Tuma and Cook have signed to compete in college. Tuma is headed to Nebraska, while Cook is following the path of his uncle, Brad Cook, by choosing Boise State.
No matter the road each has chosen for the future, all three could end up sharing a special moment Saturday night.
Its just a normal tournament. Im going to go out there and have fun and wrestle like Im wrestling in the practice room and Ill be fine, Cook said. I think we all just kind of know in the back of our heads that were all going for the same thing. Weve all kind of grown up with each other and pushed each other through the years.
Rachel Roberts: 377-6422, Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX