By Jim Rueda
Free Press Sports Editor
Shortly after winning his third-place bout at the Class AA state wrestling tournament inside the Xcel Energy Center, Mankato West senior Tyler Jakes walked to a corner underneath the stands and took a few minutes to compose himself. Jakes, the state's fifth-ranked 195-pounder, was defeated 21-5 in the semifinals by eventual champion Lance Benick of Totino-Grace. He then dropped down to capture a wrestleback match and finished off by decisioning Carson Hagen of Worthington 2-1 in the bronze-medal bout. The West senior ends his career as the all-time wins leader at West with a record of 174-59. After his solitary respite, he talked about the emotion of the moment. "It's been a long journey," he said slowly. "I wrestled six years on varsity and I started in youth wrestling at about 3 years old. "My grandfather was a wrestler, my dad was a wrestler, it just been in the family a long time. It's sad to think it's over." There's a chance Jakes will wrestle in college but he says he has yet to make any definitive decisions. "I honestly don't know what I'll do. I might go to a smaller school and try to play football and wrestle, or I might go to a bigger school and just do one. "But it has to be about academics first. I might not do any sports in college." Jakes finishes the year with a 37-2 record. His only losses were to Benick and to state entrant Dylan Connor from St. Peter.