After winning his third straight Region 8 title, Keller had come up short once again.
"It seemed like it was not even real, to me. It felt like a dream or something," Keller said. "That's a moment that I thought my whole life I would never let slip away, and then that moment did slip away. It kind of eats away at you."
Keller (26-1) is once again a Region 8 champion. Wrestling in the 138-pound weight class last weekend, Keller defeated Paulsboro's Juan Rivera, 6-0, in the region finals at Egg Harbor Township.
And once again, Keller is traveling back to Atlantic City to try to accomplish his biggest goal.
"It's always been a dream since I was a little kid," Keller said. "We used to go and just watch the finals every year with my dad.
"I would just watch the finals and I didn't even know the kids wrestling, but just seeing them react and going up into the stands to hug their family and everything, I would just think, 'Oh, that would be awesome if I could do that.' "
Keller enters this weekend's state tournament as a favorite to take home the title. He is a top seed in the bottom bracket at 138. He will get a bye in the first round and on Friday face the winner of the match between Hackensack's Amir George and Roy Forys.
"He's strong. He's fast. He has very good technique," Timber Creek coach Nick Cottone said of Keller. "He's a very technical wrestler."
Despite having plenty of experience wrestling at the state level - Keller is a junior state champion and has placed in each of his three previous trips to states in high school - he will still have plenty on his hands as he tries to make a return trip to the finals.
The top bracket in 138 includes Scott Plainfield's Anthony Ashnault, a three-time state champion with an undefeated career record, 166-0.
"At this point," Keller said, "there are 24 kids in a bracket, and you might have four kids that you know you're going to beat every time, and the other 19 kids, they're going to be close matches no matter what.
"Everyone there has a chance to win. I mean, I've seen kids not win in districts, not win in regionals, and then win in states. If you've worked hard all year and you have the capability, which most kids do at the state tournament, it really comes down to who wants it more."
That might bode well for Keller. He wants it badly.
"I don't really know of anything else that I want more than a state title," Keller said. "Some people want to win national championships in college. My dream is to win a state title in high school."
Contact Christian Hetrick at email@example.com. Follow @_Hetrick on Twitter.