As soon as Wheaton North senior Quinlan Nelson finished climbing the final steps towards general spectator seating, he was quickly embraced by his mother and brother; one wrapped around each arm.
His brother was audibly crying. Nelson took in the moment.
The emotional scene provides a snapshot to how far Nelson has come this season. In his final season as a high school wrestler, Nelson emerged as third best in the state in his only trip to the state finals.
Nelson prevailed in the 3A 170-pound third place match by pinning Shepard's Sherman Dixon.
"[My brother] said he was proud of me," Nelson said. "He said he was happy [and] I worked hard for this."
Nelson had ultimate aspirations of raising his arms as a state champion, and while he fell short of his personal expectations, he could hold his head high.
"I don't know what to feel," Nelson said. "I'm kind of disappointed because I wanted to win it [all] obviously, but I guess third will have to do."
"I wish I had another year, I guess," Nelson reflected on his overall high school career.
"Overcoming the hardships, it builds character."
Nelson isn't sure of his immediate plans of possibly wrestling in college in either Division I or II.
"I hope so; that's the goal," Nelson said.
Wheaton's Jett Dowell (3A 152 pounds) fell in the first round of the consolation bracket to Oak Lawn's Anthony Bitner in a 15-3 major decision.
Antowon Tolbert (195) lost in the second round of the consolation bracket to Pekin's Jared Dowell in a 7-5 decision.
Glenbard East's two representatives, Alex Posada and Reese Martin, both lost in the second round of the consolation brackets at 145 pounds and 120 pounds, respectively.