With no final state series to look forward to, high school wrestlers in Illinois have had to shift the goalposts when it comes to finding motivation for the season.
For seniors such as Alleman's Jack Patting, it's even more difficult with the goal of winning a state title being taken away.
The former 152-pounder for the Pioneers, now bumped up to 170 this season, has had to accept a lot of hard truths in the last year, but is still looking to make the most of one last year at the high school level.
"I was pretty mad and sad about not having a state meet to strive for," Patting said. "There's an unsanctioned state tournament at the end of the season, but it just isn't the same. One thing we've learned is only to worry about what you can control."
The Augustana College wrestling and football commit still has plenty to take away from his senior campaign, even if there's no state medal at the end of the road.
"We weren't sure what we were going to get this season," Patting said. "Twenty or so dual meets instead of zero is a good thing. Being around all of my teammates for one last season as well is great."
Despite having the overall career wins record at Alleman with 143 victories, Patting is still looking for things to improve upon. Those who know him aren't surprised by his work ethic, though, and the senior has a list of things to refine as he takes his talents to the collegiate level.
"I want to improve my ability in the bottom position and make that an emphasis going into college," Patting said. "I don't want to be egotistical, but I haven't spent a ton of time on bottom in my career. That was always a weakness that I had going into sectionals and state."
That work ethic has always been apparent to Alleman coach James Ealy, who says that Patting, along with the rest of the senior class, has been a needed boost for the Pioneers wrestling program.
"He's one of those guys that's a huge program changer," Ealy said. "We just had senior night and all six seniors were there when I first started as coach here as second graders in the youth program, and they stuck it out. We've always taught them to be proud of everything they've accomplished and to leave things better than when they got here, and they have absolutely done that."
With all of the accolades and success that Patting has had in his high school career, the senior has never been the type to gloat about things or say that he's better than anyone else in the room.
"Jack has always carried himself well," Ealy said. "Just talking to him without knowing anything, you wouldn't know he's our all-time wins leader or that he was a three-time state qualifier and multi-time medalist. He wants everyone to come up with him."
Patting's overall focus lies with spending time with his teammates and enjoying the last ride that they share together at the high school level.