Although he had placed the previous three seasons in the Division I state tournament, Marysville High School senior wrestler Noah Forrider had fallen short of his ultimate goal.
This year, he reached it.
Forrider became the Monarchs' fourth state champion when he defeated Madison's Nick Montgomery 5-4 in the title match at 138 pounds March 2 at Ohio State.
Forrider, who will wrestle at Ohio University, finished the season 49-0.
"It felt like the weight of the world was lifted off of my shoulders," he said. "There's no way to really describe it. It's the best feeling."
Earlier this season, Forrider became the program's career leader in wins, surpassing the 163 of Jake McCombs, who graduated in 2010.
Forrider finished his career with a record of 169-24.
"He's been a leader for four years and the younger kids see what it takes," said Shawn Andrews, the OCC-Central and district Coach of the Year. "It doesn't happen easy."
In his previous three appearances at state, Forrider was fourth at 138 as a junior, sixth at 130 as a sophomore and eighth at 119 as a freshman.
Marysville's other state champions were Josh Palivoda at 130 in 2007, Ben Rings at 189 in 2000 and Luke Wimmers at 130 in 1992.
Forrider's effort helped the Monarchs finish fifth (58.5 points) behind champion Lakewood St. Edward (117) as 89 teams scored.
Marysville qualified six wrestlers for state, and all of them placed. Senior Austin Pfarr finished fifth at 195, senior Chase Boyd was sixth at 160, senior Morgan Miller was seventh at 220, sophomore Taleb Rahmani placed seventh at 120 and junior David Sparks was eighth at 126.
"We were in the top five and our goal was to be up there with those other teams," Andrews said. "All six guys placed. Obviously those other guys probably had goals of finishing a little higher, but we're proud of them."
Forrider opened state Feb. 28 by defeating Wadsworth's Mathias Zollinger 14-5. He then defeated Massillon Perry's Casey Sparkman 4-2 in a quarterfinal and St. Edward's Colin Heffernan 3-1 in sudden victory in a semifinal.
Against Montgomery, Forrider led 2-1 after one period before opening a 5-1 lead entering the third. Montgomery scored two late points on stalling calls against Forrider.
"You know he has to have a home run to beat you," Andrews said. "Stalling calls make me a little nervous."
After being embraced simultaneously by Andrews and assistant coach Kevin Behrens, Forrider searched for his mother, Michelle.
"Since I've been coming here (to state) and even in middle school to watch and in grade school, I've always seen (champions) run up (and) hug their mom," Forrider said. "My mom does a lot for me and I love my mom."
Pfarr finished the season 39-10 after he pinned Brecksville-Broadview Heights' Josh Murphy in 4 minutes, 59 seconds in the fifth-place match at 195.
In the fifth-place match at 160, Boyd (46-5) was pinned by Oregon Clay's Nick Stencel in 2:36. Last season at state, Boyd was eighth at 145.
Miller (39-9) defeated Brecksville-Broadview Heights' Austin Linden 5-4 in the seventh-place match at 220. After qualifying for state at 189 as a sophomore, Miller missed last season with a right knee injury sustained during football season.
Rahmani (24-5), who was fourth at state last season at 106, won the seventh-place match at 120, 13-3 over Cincinnati Moeller's Jacoby Ward.
Sparks (43-11) lost the seventh-place match at 126 to Kettering Fairmont's Josh Parrett 4-3.
Marysville reached a quarterfinal of the first Division I state team tournament before losing to Massillon Perry 49-24 on Feb. 9. St. Edward defeated Perry 28-21 in the championship match.
The Monarchs defeated visiting Hilliard Darby 49-22 on Feb. 6 to win the Region 5 title.
Marysville won the program's fifth district title Feb. 22 and 23 at Darby, scoring 163 points to finish ahead of second-place Hilliard Davidson (107) as 35 teams scored. The Monarchs had 11 district qualifiers.
Marysville (265.5) won its 12th sectional title Feb. 16 at home, finishing ahead of second-place Westerville North (221.5) in a 10-team field.
Marysville went 7-0 in OCC-Central Division duals to win the league title ahead of Thomas Worthington (6-1), Davidson (5-2), Olentangy Liberty (3-4), Upper Arlington (3-4), Central Crossing (2-5), Dublin Coffman (2-5) and Westland (0-7).
"We recognize that we will lose four guys who have all been contributors to our recent success," Andrews said. "We hope that the guys we bring back and the legacy these seniors have left will allow our program to experience continued success."