MAHOMET — In terms of the big picture, Austen Schott couldn’t have done better.
The Centennial wrestler participated in four regional tournaments during his prep career. Each year, he advanced at least one weight class.
Each year, he qualified for the finals.
Each year, he won a regional championship. He completed his 4-for-4 feat Saturday, handling Mahomet-Seymour’s Tyler Moxley in the 126-pound finals of M-S’ Class 2A regional.
Schott fell behind 2-0 but regrouped to post an 8-3 win. Giving up the first takedown for the second time this season didn’t fluster Schott.
“Tyler’s a good quality wrestler. He’ll probably be a state qualifier,” Schott said. “I couldn’t let it get to me. I had to get back on track.”
In terms of the bigger picture, Schott still has some work to do. He has not yet won a state medal.
“I hope this will get me ready for the next round,” Schott said. “To be on the top of the podium at state is my goal, but I have to get there first.”
State medalists, in fact, are something that have eluded Centennial athletes in 43 of the school’s first 45 years of existence. The Chargers had their second medalist last February.
Schott wasn’t the only area athlete to reach the regional finals for a fourth consecutive year. Urbana’s undefeated Cameron Mammen, the state’s top-ranked 170-pounder, dispatched two foes by pin in a combined 41 seconds to win his weight class for a third time.
“My philosophy is to get a pin and get off the mat as quickly as possible to not risk an injury,” Mammen said.
Centennial’s Darren Wynn, a two-time regional finalist, earned his first championship in the 132-pound class.
He outscored M-S’ Cody Hooper 20-7 thanks to an 8-0 edge in takedowns. It’s not a coincidence that he and Schott are in back-to-back weight classes.
“We’ve wrestled each other since seventh grade,” Wynn said. “I push him. He pushes me.”
The Chargers had champions in three consecutive weight divisions. Terrace Davis started the streak with a 4-1 victory against Urbana’s Chance McQueen at 120 pounds. Davis didn’t allow a takedown in either of his bouts and was brimming with confidence.
“I felt like it was my turn and no one could stop me,” he said. “Today was special.”
Mammen has a similarly strong workout partner in 182-pound Alex Lynch, who also captured a regional crown.
“Everybody’s so focused on Cam, I wanted to try and change that,” Lynch said. “I wanted to give ’em something else to think about when they think about Urbana.”
Bloomington won team honors in the nine-school tournament by 28 points over the Bulldogs, though both schools qualified individuals for sectionals in 10 of 14 weight classes.
M-S’ regional titlists were Derek Grant (152 pounds) and Jordan Geese (285).
Geese is a sophomore who didn’t picture himself atop the winner’s stand when the season started.
“My coaches and teammates had high expectations for me,” he said, “but it took a while for me to think I could be a regional champion.”
Geese, Mammen and Bloomington’s Devante Gray (106 pounds) were the three champions to win both of their regional matches with first-period falls.
Grant had wins on the opposite ends of the spectrum. He prevailed by technical fall, 16-1, in the semifinals and held off Central’s Indy Whalen, 4-3, in the finals. A junior, the top-seeded Grant joined the 30-win club Saturday.
His ranking wasn’t a hindrance.
“It was more giving me confidence than adding pressure,” Grant said. “I feel I can compete with anyone in the state.”
Danville had two individual winners. Freshman Javeonte Crider (113 pounds) and junior Trae Wilson (145) were the Vikings’ standouts.
Both have had years of experience in Danville’s Lion Hearts Kids Club, which is run by Wilson’s grandfather, Ralph Morris.
“As a freshman, getting these wins was good for me,” Crider said. “I know in the next couple of years, I’ll do good.”Crider took up the sport as a 6-year-old and stuck with it, he said, because “it brings the determination out in a kid.”
Wilson posted two pins in less than a minute to reach the finals, where he held off M-S’ Kyle Heller, 4-3. His 10 years of wrestling experience had him prepared.
“When it gets close, I know to push through,” Wilson said.
One of the day’s best feel-good stories belonged to M-S freshman Scottie Rotramel, a first-year sophomore wrestler who was behind his best friend, David Wisehart, all season at 160 pounds.
Rotramel, who weighs 161, was inserted in the lineup at 170 when Thomas Bane was sidelined by an illness. Rotramel started the day with a 1-0 varsity record and suffered his first loss in the semifinals, when Mammen pinned him in 19 seconds. He left the mat smiling.
“He’s ranked No. 1,” said Rotramel, whose season started late due to appendicitis. “I figured that would happen.”
It was the only match the unseeded Rotramel lost out of four. He registered two pins, one in the third-place match to secure his qualification for the Mattoon Sectional, which starts Friday.
“I played varsity football, and this is keeping me in condition,” Rotramel said. “David talked me into it. It’s my first year wrestling and I’m having fun with it.”
Staff writer Fred Kroner pins down five wrestlers who impressed during Saturday’s regionals:
The state’s top-ranked 1A 285-pounder reached the finals with back-to-back falls in less than a minute and then pinned a loss on No. 2-ranked and previously unbeaten Morgan Supergan, from B-H.
Unbeaten for the second consecutive year entering sectionals, the 2A 170-pounder posted pins in 19 and 22 seconds at the M-S Regional. For the season, 11 of the senior’s 18 pins have occurred in less than a minute.
The 113-pound senior was the only one of meet champion LeRoy’s six individual winners to pin his way through the 1A regional field hosted by the Panthers. Ruffner pinned a 30-match winner in the finals.
The 152-pound junior was one of the Bombers’ four regional champions and ran his season-long winning streak to 24 matches thanks to a one-point decision in the finals. Teammate Nate Jozsa (132) also stayed unbeaten.
The 126-pound sophomore dominated both of his opponents — each of whom were 20-match winners — posting technical fall victories twice. He outscored his two 1A regional foes at Bismarck by a 34-3 combined score.