Hampton's Jake Hart had his championship celebration scripted.
After time ran out in his match and he was a PIAA Class AAA champion, he was going to do a backflip in the center of the mat. But the plan fell through when Central Catholic's Perry Hills beat him in the state final at 195 pounds ... the 2012 state final.
So he just had to postpone the celebration for one year.
When the buzzer sounded on his 4-1 victory against Kiski Area's Matt McCutcheon in the 195-pound PIAA final Saturday night in Hershey, Hart leaped and rotated backward 360 degrees, landing perfectly on his feet.
"I was going to do [the backflip] last year, but last year didn't turn out too well," said a smiling Hart. "So I kept it in my bag for this year."
Hart (44-1), a senior, became the second PIAA wrestling champion in school history, joining Jason Robison, who won the 189-pound title in 1993.
Hart can now make a case for being the best wrestler in Hampton's history.
He owns the school's all-time wins record (143) and the single-season wins record (44), although Robison has a better career-winning percentage (.902 to .872).
"They have different styles, where Jake is better on his feet but Jay was better on top," said Hampton coach Joe Bursick, who was a few grades ahead of Robison at Hampton. "But yeah, I think he's right there with him."
Hampton assistant coach Chris Hart has a unique view on the matter. He was Robison's practice partner from the time they were in preschool all the way through high school.
The year Robison won the PIAA title, Hart placed third at 171 pounds.
Hart also happens to be Jake's uncle and said he has coached this Hampton senior "since he was in diapers."
So he has a very knowledgeable perspective on the greatest Hampton wrestler of all time and thinks Jake's name belongs in the conversation.
"I think it ranks him up there definitely among the best if not the best," Hart said.
Jake Hart got off to a very good start in his Hampton career, taking fourth at the WPIAL tournament as a freshman at 189 pounds.
The next season, he won his first section title, but missed qualifying for the PIAA tournament again after finishing sixth at WPIALs.
But everything came together for Hart last season. He won 40 matches, won the section tournament and finished second to Hills at both the WPIAL and PIAA tournaments.
He was even better this season. The only blemish on Hart's record was when he lost, 3-2, in an ultimate tiebreaker against Blair Academy's Frank Mattiace in the 195-pound championship at the prestigious Powerade Tournament.
He broke his own school record in wins for a season, broke Brian Pogel's all-time wins record at Hampton of 132 and beat last season's 182-pound PIAA champion in the state final.
In fact, Hart is responsible for both of McCutchen's losses after beating the Kiski senior, 3-1 in overtime, in the WPIAL title match.
"I kind of figured all year it would be us in the WPIAL finals and state finals," Jake Hart said. "For me to come out on top both times, it's just out of my mind. I can't even describe how happy I am."
Now Hart is looking forward to the next chapter of his wrestling career, which will come next season at Edinboro University, which has an NCAA Division I wrestling program.
"I'm really excited for that," Hart said. "I'm pumped."
Hart will likely continue to be compared to Robison, who also attended Edinboro after graduating from Hampton and went on to be a three-time All-American and an NCAA runner-up his senior year.
It would be tough for Hart or any wrestler to match those accomplishments, but he was able to match or surpass Robison's feats at Hampton and his uncle knows there is still room for him to grow on the mat.
"He hasn't reached his full potential yet," Chris Hart said. "On his feet, when he gets going, I don't know if there's anybody better than him."