CHAMPAIGN — Dylan Reel said he faced an opponent who was "athletic and strong" in the Class 2A IHSA state championship wrestling match Saturday night at 160 pounds.
However, the Washington High School athlete believed he had one edge on Mahomet-Seymour's Austin Armetta.
"I knew I worked harder than him in the offseason," Reel said. "He plays football and is in track. I gave up football to get this."
What Reel got was the coveted state championship after he ended Armetta's two-loss season by accounting for the M-S standout's second loss. It came 9-3 in the title bout. Three of Reel's four takedowns came in the final 47 seconds.
"I wasn't out to win by a couple of points," said Reel, a three-time state champion. "I was out to win in dominating fashion and leave no question. I wanted to score a lot of points."
Armetta entered the state series ranked second behind Reel, whom he had lost to 15-11 before starting a 16-match winning streak that carried him into the state finals.
"I never expected to be in the Grand March," Armetta said. "It obviously didn't go as planned, but coming off second feels good. I feel great about how I did."
While Armetta plans to put away his singlet and head gear for good, Reel intends to wrestle in college. He is rethinking his oral commitment to Boise State and said, "I could end up about anywhere."
Armetta, 38-2 for the season and 130-28 in his career, was one of three local athletes in 2A to salvage medals.
Centennial senior Archie Williams won three times on the final day to clinch third place in Class 2A at 182 pounds. He opened with his third state-meet pin this year (4:14 against Marmion's Cody Snodgrass) and followed that with a 6-2 triumph against Lemont's Chris Giatras, who had been ranked second.
That win was Williams' 41st for the season, moving him into first place on the Chargers' charts for season success. His subsequent 3-1 overtime win against Montini's Jake Turk for third place was his 42nd win.
The pin of Snodgrass was the win that assured Williams of a state medal, the first for the school in 28 years.
"We had gotten into that match each of the last two years," Centennial coach Ed Mears said. "This is a good tournament, and it's hard to win matches here. A lot of good kids come out of here 0-1 (recordwise). It's good to know he'll get a medal."
The most interesting part about Williams' 42-3 season record? Every loss came to the individuals who were in the state championship match at 182: Richmond-Burton's Jack Dechow (one) and Bloomington's Stephon Rudicil (two). Dechow pinned Rudicil in the finals in 1:53.
Williams also owns Centennial's season record for pins (29).
Williams and Turk spent more than half their match seeking a takedown. Yet, in overtime, Williams needed just six seconds to collect the winning takedown.
"It's my last year and I decided, 'Why not try something?' " Williams said. "I've tried it (super duck) in practice but wasn't confident enough to use it in a match."
The move accounted for his final prep points and enabled him to compile a 5-1 record this year at state with four successive wins in wrestlebacks.
"When I was a freshman and saw people on the podium, I wanted to be one of them," Williams said. "Right now, this (third-place match) feels like another win, but maybe tomorrow it will hit me."
Urbana's 170-pound Cameron Mammen didn't go out as a champion, but he finished his junior season as a winner. After back-to-back losses — his only two in 31 matches this season — he regrouped to win his fifth-place match, 8-4 against Montini's Conor Winel.
"I used those matches as motivation, taking all my anger out on the last guy," Mammen said.
In his first bout Saturday, Mammen fell to Triad's Jake Tindle, 3-1. A week earlier, Mammen (29-2) had ended Tindle's seasonlong unbeaten streak with a win at sectionals. Third-place finisher Tindle was 50-2 for the season.
Of the six medal winners at his weight, Mammen was the only non-senior.
"That's a big boost for my confidence going into next year," he said.
While many competitors routinely went to the scales after their matches for a weight check, Mammen only did so for the mandatory daily weigh-ins. He weighed in Saturday at 168 pounds, 4 pounds under the limit allowed for those in his weight class.
Armetta, Williams and Mammen were the only area athletes to take the mat during final-day action in Class 2A.
In team scoring kept by trackwrestling.com, the 2A points leaders were Montini (149), Lemont (97), Marmion (87 1/2), Richmond-Burton (77 1/2) and Crystal Lake Central (68 1/2).