CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The 130-pound weight class in Class 1A isn’t exactly the exclusive property of western Illinois wrestlers.
But it sure seemed like it in 2010-11.
All year long, Orion’s Thorian Twyner dominated the rankings as a defending state champion. As the season wore on and the rankings caught up to the talent, it became clear that Quad-City area kids would be at the top of the heap; not just Twyner, but fellow westerners Austin Skiles of Mercer County and Maxx Hubbard of Sterling Newman.
That’s how Saturday night’s state finals played out at Assembly Hall — the 130-pound weight class was the locals’ sandbox, and almost nobody else was invited in. Twyner, as he has all year long, dominated the scene, collecting three major decisions in bagging his second 1A state championship, the last coming in a 9-1 victory over Hubbard.
“I felt really confident all this year, but getting that second one just feels great,” Twyner said. “It’s like everybody knows everything everybody does. We get crazy matches when we wrestle each other.“
Twyner got takedowns in each period, but made the Hubbard victory a major with a nice little 2-point turk for back points near the end.
“That was definitely icing on the cake, getting that turk in and getting those back points,” Twyner said. “It feels good to have my name up there with all the big names in our school. I knew I would have some success, but I didn’t know it would go this far.”
Hubbard, the only junior among the local trio (Skiles went on to place third after Hubbard pinned him in the semifinals), will get another crack at the title in 2012, this time without the Northern Illinois-bound Twyner, as well as Skiles, in his way. But others will certainly lurk.
“Taking second (to Twyner) is definitely an accomplishment,” Hubbard said. “He’s great on his feet, it’s about impossible to escape from him. He’s just an all-around really great wrestler. I know I have to step it up to next year if I want to be the best.”
McDonnell cruises: Morrison junior Mark McDonnell took the next step in his progression at Assembly Hall Saturday night. After finishing second a year ago, McDonnell moved up a spot on the podium with a title at 140 pounds, defeating unbeaten Dalton Brown of Shelbyville, 8-3.
“We had no chance to see him, so when we were down here, we watched him, to see what he liked to do. We saw he liked to do arm drags and elbow shots, so we thought if we kept out of that, there would be nothing he could do,” McDonnell said. “It was good to watch him, see what he likes and stop that, and do what I like.“
A junior, McDonnell knows the eyes of the whole state will be on him in 2011-12. “I’m fine with it,” he said. “To be the best you have to beat the best, and when you see somebody who’s defending coming back, you know he’s pretty good. I don’t mind having that target on my back.”
First title for Snow: Sterling Newman freshman Jake Snow rode out top-ranked Reed-Custer junior Trent Lyons, preserving a 2-1, double-overtime victory for the championship at 112.
“I can’t explain it, it just feels great. It’s just amazing,” said Snow of winning a state championship, particularly as a freshman.
Snow went up 2-1 when, in trying to hang on, Lyons kept control of Snow’s ankle for about 12 seconds, which is seven longer than allowed, and he was hit with a penalty point. But then he couldn’t get out of Snow’s ride, ending the match in two OTs.
“I was just thinking that I needed to get out,” Snow said of the ankle ride. “I was tired. I didn’t know how I could get out, or if I could get out, but it (the stall point) happened.“
Coming up short: Two additional local wrestlers lost their bids for titles. At 103 pounds, Sterling Newman’s Garrett Webb couldn’t solve Dakota freshman Josh Alber, falling by a 10-0 major decision. At 145, Mercer County’s Zach Nelson couldn’t find points against Reed-Custer’s Billy Chancey, going down 5-0. Sherrard’s Seth Whan (189) and Riverdale’s Mitchell Keppy (285) both lost their final matches.