BY RYAN HOWE
TWIN FALLS – After walking off the mat for the final time as a state champion, after the cheers from the Idaho Center had faded, after the celebration dinner with friends and family, Jordon Crist sat alone in his room and looked at all the awards he’s accumulated in 12-plus years of wrestling.
“All of this has paid off,” he said to himself.
Crist became the first wrestler in Canyon Ridge High’s history to win a state championship when he pinned Josh Travers of Sandpoint in the 220-pound 4A finals earlier this month.
“It was awesome, it was the best feeling ever, said Crist, the Times-News co-Wrestler of the Year.
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Afterward, he thanked all his coaches, but saved his biggest gratitude for one individual.
“One special lady, my mother, she’s the one that’s always been following me around telling me no matter what I’m a champion in her book,” Crist said. “But looks like I really am one.”
Someone else Crist personally thanked shortly after winning his title was Gooding junior Josh Finley, the only wrestler to beat Crist this season as he finished 40-1.
“He was the one at the beginning of the year, my only loss and it was by pin,” Crist said. “It just got me going, thinking I’ve got to step my game up if I want to become that state champion that I’ve always dreamed of. I thanked him for it, he gave me a weird look at first, but I think he understood it. I told him thanks for doing that, you made me realize I need to step up my game.”
Crist has embraced his legacy as the Riverhawks’ first-ever state champ on the wrestling mat, and he hopes his example will be passed on to the younger athletes in the program.
“You’ve got to go in every day working hard. You’ve got to have your own mindset going on. You’ve got fear and faith, and I decided to walk down the road of faith,” he said. “Hard work and dedication pays off. You can do it, you’ve just got to have the will to succeed.”