CHAMPAIGN — This was a 2-for-2 deal.
Centennial High qualified two senior athletes for the state wrestling tournament. Each was matched up with a senior from the same school, Tinley Park.
Chargers Austen Schott (126 pounds) and Darren Wynn (132) continued their winning streaks Thursday while advancing into quarterfinal matches in a session that starts today at 8:30 a.m. at the Assembly Hall.
Schott’s 9-1 win was his 20th victory in succession. Wynn’s first-period pin (in 71 seconds) extended his winning streak to 31 matches in a row.
“Getting the first one out of the way sets the pace for the whole tournament,” Schott said.
In his last four postseason matches, counting Thursday’s preliminary-round bout, Schott has yielded four points.
“When they can’t score on you, good things come your way,” Schott said. “I trained all week for this day.”
Wynn (39-1) has beaten 10 ranked wrestlers throughout the season, many while competing at a higher weight class. He is now 10-0 at 132 pounds.
“Making the drop made me feel like I’m stronger than anybody,” said Wynn, who posted pins in the regional, sectional and now at state.
Chargers coach Ed Mears said the seniors showed their years of experience on the mat.
“They both knew what they needed to do to get things done,” Mears said.
Joining the Centennial duo in the 2A quarterfinals are two Urbana senior standouts: top-ranked 170-pounder Cameron Mammen and 182-pound Alex Lynch.
The unbeaten Mammen (30-0) continued a pattern which has followed him through the postseason. He scored the first takedown quickly (six seconds) and followed with a 31-second pin.
“They will have game plans for you, but they can’t really game-plan if you go and attack,” Mammen said. “The level here is tough. I’m not going to take anyone lightly.
“It feels good to get the match done so you can relax for the rest of the day.”
Urbana coach Charles Trabaris said Mammen’s dominance can be attributed to, “his work ethic and the partners he works out with.”
Lynch secured the first and last takedowns and prevailed 6-2 in his state debut.
“I can go to sleep with more relaxation,” Lynch said. “I only had one match today, and I put everything into it. First time at state and first win. It feels great.”
He admitted that coming out of the tunnel prior to his match was a bit intimidating.
“There were some butterflies because there’s a lot of people looking down on you,” he said, “but when I got on the mat, I looked straight at my opponent and wrestled it like any other match.”
Four area 2A athletes dropped first-round decisions to ranked foes.
Second-rated Kyle Akins, from Sycamore, pinned Mahomet-Seymour’s Kolton Taylor at 113 pounds in 3:12. No. 5 Jeronnie Steward, from East Moline, handled Danville freshman Javeonte Crider, 7-3, in a 106-pound match. The Bulldogs’ Cody Hooper (132) was pinned by top-rated Kyle Rodriguez, from Lincoln Way East, in 5:18.
Another Mahomet-Seymour wrestler, Derek Grant, fell to third-ranked Tanner Schuldt, from East Moline, at 152 pounds, 3-0.