Class 2A: Armetta, Mammen take care of business
CHAMPAIGN — Austin Armetta and Cameron Mammen are aware of the adage that wrestling championships aren't won on the first day of state, but they can be lost then.
Half of the qualifiers for the three-class IHSA state meet at the Assembly Hall are no longer living the dream.
Armetta, a senior from Mahomet-Seymour, and Mammen, a junior from Urbana, are among the fortunate ones. They took the first step Thursday by posting first-round victories. The 160-pound Armetta and the 170-pound Mammen will compete in the quarterfinals, which start today at 9 a.m.
Both standouts faced first-round foes they knew nothing about.
"Either way is fine," Armetta said. "When I know stuff, it makes me think too much, but when you don't know, you wonder. It's never bad."
Armetta was the aggressor from the outset and piled up three first-period takedowns en route to a 14-4 triumph over St. Patrick's Larry Juliano.
Mammen prefers not having the background on his opponent. "I like not knowing and especially him not knowing about me," said Mammen, who is 27-0 this season.
Mammen had a takedown and two first-period near-falls against Rock Island's Michael Cole, whom he pinned in 2:46.
"I like to push the action and wrestle my style," said Mammen, "and not let him wrestle his."
Neither his record nor his ranking as the pre-meet favorite at 170 has created an added burden.
"There's no pressure," Mammen said. "I'm not worried about the rankings."
Armetta and Mammen are among four area athletes in Class 2A still in contention.
Central senior Nate Volk (152) advanced as did Centennial senior Archie Williams (182).
The Chargers, seeking their first state wrestling medalist in 28 years, have two-time qualifier Williams as a quarterfinal representative. The 182-pounder registered his 38th win — two from matching the school's season record — thanks to a pin in 5:08 over Rich South's Roy Hickman.
Williams trailed 1-0 after two periods before the two engaged in a flurry of action over the next minute. Williams' lead was 8-4 when he secured the pin.
"I came out slow and needed to pick it up," Williams said.
His pin was his first at the Assembly Hall.
"I feel like I'm doing the right things," said Williams, who faces top-ranked Jack Dechow, from Richmond-Burton, in his first match today.
Central's three-time state meet competitor, the 152-pound Volk, had his 32-match winning streak snapped in the sectional finals, but he regrouped to outpoint Joe Corteso, from Niles Notre Dame, 4-2.
All six points were scored on reversals. Volk broke a 2-2 deadlock with his winning move in the final 30 seconds.
"Reversals are what I go for, and if I don't get that after about 30 seconds, then I go for an escape," said Volk, who had last won a match at state as a freshman.
"It feels good," he added. "Any time you beat someone at state, it's a big deal."
Centennial's other entrants, junior Darren Wynn (126) and senior Deonte Adams (195), suffered narrow losses.
Wynn was beaten by Elmwood Park's Mike DiFrisco, 7-6, and Adams fell to Galesburg's Demario Walker, 9-8.
Central's Brandon Klein had the distinction of being the state's top freshman 170-pounder in 2A. He was the only ninth-grader to qualify for state at that weight.
In his debut in the 16-person bracket, Klein dropped an 8-3 decision to Washington's Mason Wright.
"For a freshman in this atmosphere, it's a little overwhelming," Central coach Dan Warner said. "There's a lot to take in. What I told him was, 'This won't be your only time here.' "
Mahomet-Seymour's Tyler Moxley, competing at state for the second year in a row, had the misfortune of drawing top-ranked 120-pounder Matt Garelli of Fenwick in Thursday's opener. Garelli prevailed 9-2.
The silver lining for Moxley is he expects to return to action in the wrestlebacks as Garelli is expected to advance into the semifinals.
The list of nine area qualifiers was reduced to eight competitors prior to the first official's whistle. Centennial junior Austen Schott (113), a two-time qualifier, was academically ineligible this week.