Chart toppers: Area 2A wrestlers who should advance to state, courtesy Jeff Huth
Berths in the state wrestling tournament will be on the line this weekend at sectionals across the Land of Lincoln. Staff writer Jeff Huth offers his top area picks to advance out of the Class 2A Mount Zion Sectional:
The 170-pound junior not only is undefeated at 23-0; he's been challenged one time this season. On Dec. 30 in the title bout of the Lincoln tournament, Mammen defeated Harvey Thornton's Dominic Bryant 7-3, Of his remaining 19 matches that were contested (three were forfeit wins), Mammen has recorded 14 pins, three technical falls and two major decisions. Further evidence of his dominance is the fact that all of his pins were accomplished in the first period. To continue his unbeaten season, Mammen will need to wade through a challenging sectional bracket that includes the state's top-ranked 170-pounder, Jake Tindle of Troy Triad.
The 160-pound senior enters with a 32-1 record, the lone setback coming Jan. 21 in a high-scoring battle against Dylan Reel of Washington. Reel, the state's top-ranked 2A wrestler in his weight class, prevailed 15-11. With Washington assigned to the Sterling Sectional, the second-ranked Armetta will not face Reel at Mount Zion. Armetta has racked up 21 pins, with 15 coming in the first period. Five other wins have come by major decision. Armetta has advanced to the sectional final each of the last two years, winning it all in 2011 at 160.
Another senior intent on finishing his prep career in the Assembly Hall, Volk (35-2) enters on a 29-match winning streak. The latest victory by the 152-pounder came in the final of the Mahomet-Seymour Regional. It was the second regional title for Volk, who in four years never failed to advance to the title bout in the opening stage of the IHSA postseason series. Now, he'll look to not only get back to state but also to take care of unfinished business. As a freshman, Volk came within one win of medaling at the Assembly Hall.
As a junior, the 113-pounder brings physical and mental maturity — as well as experience — into a weight class typically populated by younger wrestlers. Schott enters with a 28-2 record that includes 18 pins, three technical falls and one major decision. It should be noted that one of Schott's defeats was by injury default. It should be further noted that Schott spent much of the season testing himself at a higher weight class. Twenty of his matches were at 120 pounds, with one other at 126. Now, the three-time regional champion will look to keep rolling against lighter competition this weekend.
We went back and forth between Adams and teammate Archie Williams before settling on the former. At 34-1, Williams has the superior record and certainly is a strong candidate to reach state. However, it was evident at regionals — where Williams lost in the finals — that his decision to drop from 195 to 182 for the postseason might be more physically challenging than anticipated. Fellow senior Adams switched lineup spots with Williams and at regionals was dominant at 195 despite competing at 16 pounds below that weight. Adams (29-6) enters sectionals on a roll, having won nine in a row and 11 of 12. The question now is, can it continue against presumably tougher competition or will the weight differential catch up with Adams? Bottom line: Adams and Williams both offer intriguing sectional storylines.