Any chance you get to relive the good old days is worth taking.
Phil Downing is less than a year removed from becoming the 17th Colorado wrestler to win four state titles, and later this spring he will have a chance to enjoy it all over again.
Last week, the members of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame announced that Downing will be honored alongside Lewis-Palmer’s talented volleyball player Alexa Smith as the 2014 high school athletes of the year.
“Makes me feel pretty good and lets me know that I accomplished something pretty big,” Downing said. “It brings back a really good feeling when I look back and remember getting my hand raised for my fourth title.
“It also kind of gives me a weird feeling inside.”
The 51st annual banquet on Thursday, April 2, will take place at the Denver Marriott City Center. Getting honored alongside Downing will be Hall of Fame inductees Chauncey Billups, John Dikeou, John Gagliardi, Becky Hammon, Roy Halladay and the late Warren Mitchell.
Colorado State wide receiver Rashard Higgins (male college athlete of the year), University of Colorado volleyball standout Taylor Simpson (girls college athlete of the year), and Olympic skier Mikaela Shiffrin (overall Colorado athlete of the year) also will be recognized. The Division II national championship CSU-Pueblo football team was named the recipient of this year’s “King of the Hill” award.
Downing originally signed to compete at Notre Dame College in Ohio, but had that opportunity fall through. Currently Downing, who cannot wrestle collegiately for a calendar year, is maintaining his training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and still has visions of competing in college.
“I just going to go to open tournaments and open freestyle tournaments and stuff like that,” said Downing, who makes appearances at high school tournaments to cheer on some of his friends.
Downing would also like to get involved with mixed martial arts fighting and would like nothing more than to get into the octagon.
“I have a couple of hook-ups. I could train at 303 MMA, I could go to Factory X and I could go to Grudge for places to train,” Downing said. “I would probably need six months of training, so my first fight would probably be around the summer time.”
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