The match that Blue Springs High School senior Daniel Lewis had waited 12 months to wrestle couldn’t have started in much worse fashion. Only nine seconds into his Missouri Class 4 state championship bout, Lewis took a swipe across the face from Ritenour senior Tyron Welch that knocked out both of his contacts.
Wrestling for his fourth connective state title, this one at 160 pounds, Lewis suddenly couldn’t even see his opponent. He was so nervous that he struggled to replace either contact as the clock ticked toward a maximum five minutes of injury time.
“I can wrestle with only one contact, but I’m blind as a bat, so I can’t wrestle without both of them,” Lewis said. “It was nerve-wracking. My hands were shaking so much. I couldn’t put them back in.”
A shaky start gave way to a strong finish.
After a quick chat with his coach, Mike Hagerty, Lewis replaced both contacts and returned to business. A minute later, he completed his second straight undefeated season to become the first four-time state champion in Blue Springs High School history.
Lewis, who finished 45-0, is The Star’s All-Metro wrestler of the year.
He won his four titles in four different weight classes, though he said the fourth one felt a little different for other reasons.
“This one felt more like a relief,” Lewis said. “This one put the most weight on me because it was that fourth one and I’d been thinking about it for a year, ever since I won (my junior) year.”
He thrived under the added pressure.
Lewis either pinned or recorded a technical fall against every opponent this season. None of them even managed to reach the third period.
Lewis will wrestle next season at Missouri.