BAKERSFIELD -- It happened in an instant, but James Logan High senior Artemio Flores will probably remember it for a lifetime.
Flores dropped a crushing 5-3 decision to Johnny Parada of San Fernando in the semifinals of the state wrestling championships on a takedown as the final horn was sounding.
The last-second defeat, at 126 pounds, ended any hopes of an East Bay competitor advancing to Saturday's championship round at Rabobank Arena.
Flores was being typically aggressive trying for the win, when his fate turned with the score at 3-3.
"I was trying to get behind him and throw him to his hip," Flores said. "I saw that we were short on time, so maybe I didn't go in as hard as I should have. If you relax for a second, that happens."
Overall, North Coast Section participants exceeded expectations with eight medalists, one more than last year, despite the fact that the section had just three qualifiers per division, down one from 2012.
There were four local first-time medalists: Liberty's Austin Solari (sixth, 132), Logan's Flores (sixth) and Clayton Hartwell (sixth, 195), and Heritage's Joey Vigil (eighth, 113), who collected the Patriots' first state medal.
There were some near-misses. Granada's Kyle Campiotti dropped a 7-6 heartbreaker against Freddie Garcia of Santiago-Corona (Southern Section) on an escape with eight seconds to go, in his fifth-round consolation match, when a victory would have clinched a medal.
Liberty coach Greg Chappel was pleased with Solari's efforts, which included a 2-2 record in Saturday's grueling consolation action.
"He's worked hard for four years, so the medal is kind of like icing on the cake," Chappel said.
Flores will leave Bakersfield with mixed emotions. He wrestled well, winning three matches on Friday by major decisions, and helped Logan get two state medalists for the first time since 2000.
"I'm happy that I placed because that's what I came here to do, but I could have done better," he said. "It kind of stings, but I think I did pretty good."
Flores nearly had Parada pinned a few times, but Parada's excellent balance enabled him to wiggle free. In addition to his big finish, Parada tied the match 2-2 with reverse with one second left in the first period.
"The crucial point in the match where you have to know the score," Logan wrestling coach Eli Bagaoisan said of the late-period setbacks. "Maybe just give up one point instead of a reversal, that type of thing."
Vigil clinched his medal with a 3-1 win over Eric Ochoa of Northview-Covina. He dropped his next match 10-2 against Khristian Olivas of Clovis, before losing the seventh-place match against Roy Galvan of La Quinta 5-4.
Logan's Hartwell, a junior, had an impressive 5-2 record. He rallied to beat Luke Brewer of Bret Harte-Angels Camp 6-4 in overtime in the fifth round to clinch his medal.
"It could have been better. I wrestled not as well as I usually do," Hartwell said. "But it got me to sixth, and it's not what I wanted. I wanted a first, just like everyone else."