CHAMPAIGN – Stan Adkisson has been so busy lately that he barely had time to get nervous before his last wrestling match at Champaign Central on Thursday. He's been juggling studying for exams and spent the early part of the afternoon having a root canal.
His Senior Night excitement and jitters didn't hit, he said, until he returned to Combes Gymnasium and his teammates began discussing the upcoming match against Mahomet-Seymour, which the Maroons lost 45-16.
After Adkisson's parents arrived and draped a traditional Samoan lei around his neck, the significance of the event hit home. The lei, which was sent from one of Adkisson's relatives in Samoa, commemorates graduations and other major events in one's life.
"That was really special," said Adkisson, who knew his performance would be key to the Maroons' performance. Adkisson defeated Zach Ochs 5-1.
His victory, however, was one of few bright spots for the Maroons, who performed well at the heavier weight classes. The more experienced Bulldogs dominated the lower classes, including the 103-pound division where Jake Jarrett pinned Alex Manard. The pinfall gave Mahomet-Seymour a 17-10 lead, and Central never recovered.
"Jake got us out to a good start," Mahomet-Seymour coach Rob Ledin said. "He got the pin, and then we started getting some good wins after that. It worked out in our favor tonight."
The Bulldogs took two overtime victories, including Dylan Howard's sudden-death victory against Tristan Rivera at 140.
"Howard's the type of kid that you want in those kinds of matches because he works really hard and you know he's not going to give up," Ledin said. "He's got a good heart, and he's going to keep fighting."
Central's Kaleb Ingersoll, a senior who was rewriting the school's record books this season with most career near-falls and reversals, was forced to forfeit with an injury to his right knee. Ingersoll's prognosis was unknown at the match's conclusion.
"Some of those things go our way, and it looks a little different on the scoreboard," Central coach Jeff Scott said. "Kaleb is the only guy who has been a significant contributor from the beginning of his career. Stan (Adkisson) and Alonzo (Miller, who defeated Charlie Miller) have really come into their own."
Both coaches said the meet and several larger, tougher competitions will help them prepare for the upcoming state tournament, which begins with the Feb. 2 regionals.
"We've got some practice time to fix things, but we're feeling good going into regionals," Ledin said. "I think our kids are definitely looking forward to it."