Joey Miller won't forget the moment.
It was against Jersey Shore in the last regular-season dual. He was in control, up in his bout, until it struck.
He felt something in his elbow.
"I was really scared because I thought my season was over. I thought I heard a noise," Miller said.
A damper fell over the crowd that night. Miller had been rolling since dropping to 130. He gained confidence at the annual Escape the Rock tournament, and had a very successful state-dual meet where he was 4-1 and only falling to Cumberland Valley's Jon Brigham, a state qualifier himself out of District III.
"After the Escape the Rock tournament, things just started to roll for me," said Miller, who has 31 victories this season, splitting time between 130 and 135. "Things just kept building, and I feel like I kept getting better as a wrestler. Weight was never a problem for me so I knew I wouldn't have a problem making 130. But I was more confident because the kids weren't as big. I just fit in better, and once I started to win a few matches, I got confident."
This story has a happy ending. It didn't end on a cold night in Bald Eagle Township.
Although any injury is serious, Miller was still able to wrestle through his.
"After I hurt my elbow against Jersey Shore, I had to work my tail end off to get to this point. I knew that I needed to work hard because my goal was to get to states."
Miller finished in fourth place at last week's District VI Class AAA tournament. Although it wasn't the result he would have liked, it got him a ticket to regionals.
"Guys that get to Hershey believe they are going to win every time they step on the mat, and Joey is at that point," CM head coach Doug Buckwalter said. "Maybe before, there were times where he doubted himself. You could tell that he was confident coming into regionals."
And when you get into regional weekend, anything is possible.
"My first match in districts, I just wrestled and tried to keep away from using my arm. After I lost, I figured that I had to do something because getting to states has been my goal," Miller said.
The arm is just fine.
That taste of chocolate is even better.
"I thought it would be tough because it's a tough weight. I knew any match could go either way. Everything came out in my favor," the junior said with a smile that lit up the Altoona Field House.
Miller dominated Bradford's Zach Britton, a wrestler with a record of 23-4 heading into regionals.
Then, his first - and only - roadblock.
Westmont-Hilltop's Tanner Hough, who pinned Miller in the first period.
Despite the loss, Miller wasn't worried.
"After losing to Hough, I was confident I could come back," he said. "It's the end of the season, and you just let things fly. You leave it on the mat because a trip to Hershey is there."
They should have named the 130-pound consolations the Joey Miller bracket because the CM junior ripped through the wrestlebacks.
A 9-1 victory over Central Tech's Paul Mancuso.
Two third-period takedowns in a win over Erie Prep's Chris Capostis.
A dominating 9-2 win over Indian Valley's Mason Grove, who one week earlier, beat Miller at the district meet.
In the third-place match, the Wildcat was never in trouble - dominating Punxsy's Neko Cappella. Miller scored a takedown in each of the period, and a single-leg shot in the final minute secured an 8-2 victory.
As the final horn blew on the match, the junior showed little emotion.
He gave a little fist-pump to himself, and celebrated with his coaches, Buckwalter and Robbie Weikel.
Walking back to the locker room, he heard the roar of the CM faithful in attendance, and was greeted with a bearhug from his father.
"Last year, I didn't even make it out of districts," Miller said. "All year, I just worked hard with my coaches, working on the little things to help me get to this point. It feels so good knowing I am finally going to Hershey."
Today, Miller will walk back into the wrestling room after school to prepare for the next journey.
A journey that puts him among the state elite.
"In December, I wasn't doing good," he said. "I hoped it would happen, and it feels great that all the hard work paid off. It was my goal to reach Hershey in March. I'm so happy that I was able to reach it."
Tom Fox is sports editor at The Express. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.