WATERLOO -- Blake Steege knew it immediately, but it didn't stop him.
Despite having his meniscus tear away from the bone in his right knee, the Denver senior 126-pound wrestler captured the Keith Young Invitational two weeks ago with a 4-0 win over Don Bosco's Easton Larson.
That victory for Steege, the Class 2A state 120-pound runner-up last February, proved to be his last as a prep wrestler following total reconstruction surgery on that knee, the fourth knee surgery of his young life, and second on his right knee.
"I'm not sure what happened," Steege said of how the injury occurred. "I think he pulled my heel to my butt and then it just locked up. I knew it right away. I basically wrestled the whole match with one leg I couldn't bend."
Typically, a meniscus tear is a not a season-ending injury. However, Steege didn't technically tear his right meniscus.
"The meniscus never tore," he explained. "It was all in one piece and is connected by four parts. I ripped through all four connectors. It was on my right side and ended up on my left in-between my bones and it was locked there.
"They had to go in there and reattach it to my knee."
Recovery time from the knee reconstruction will be five to six months for Steege, with the first six on crutches with no weight bearing on the knee. He could've potentially returned not completely healed with rehab, but ruled that out immediately.
"No weight bearing for six weeks, that is probably the worst part was after that I was going to be so heavy, and with no muscle in my right leg," he said.
As for wrestling in college, Steege is headed to Wartburg, that is up in the air.
"See how this pans out really. See how I feel after I recover and everything," he said.
For now he says his job is to be at practices and stay positive for a team he feels still can win the Class 1A state championship in February.
That is a similar sentiment Cyclone head coach Chris Krueger has.
"In 2010, we lost Oz Wolfensperger to injury early and clinched the championship on Friday night," Krueger said. "Would we prefer to have Blake, yes, we would. But it can be done. We have lived through it before and did it."
Steege, who also lost his sophomore season to a knee injury, before going 30-4 last year and losing to Solon's Bryce West in the finals, says there is no need to feel sorry about the situation.
"I kind of did what I wanted to do with my high school career," he said. "I didn't have high expectations. I wanted to place at state and I wanted to win the Keith Young. I did both of those things. My wrestling career for high school is over, but I feel like I accomplished what I wanted too."