Brian Allen's goal at state wrestling: 'Get there ... get it'
The state wrestling semifinals haven't been kind to Brian Allen.
HINSDALE — The state wrestling semifinals haven't been kind to Brian Allen.
In 2011 and 2012, he fell in semifinal matches. Both times he battled back to take third place. The Hinsdale Central junior heads to this year's state meet with a definite goal in mind.
"If I get there (to the title mat)," Allen said, "I want to get it."
With a 44-0 record and a full season of success, including the 285-pound title at last Saturday's Class 3A Shepard sectional, things are seemingly in Allen's favor. But after his experiences the last two years, he knows not to take anything for granted.
The bracket is set up for Allen to face Neuqua Valley's Andrew Geers (37-0) in the championship match, but Allen knows he won't walk into the finals. He was slated to meet Glenbard East's D'Andre Johnson in a first-round match at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, and things would only get tougher from there as the tourney continues through Saturday.
"I feel pretty confident, but after the first round there are two guys (Moline's Adarios Jones and Lincoln-Way East's Nick Allegretti) from the Moline sectional who were two of the toughest opponents I faced this year," Allen said. "I've been in the semis twice and lost. I'm focused on getting there."
An overtime defeat to Bolingbrook's Rob Bain in last year's semifinals stung at the time, but it also gave Allen an extra boost as he got ready for this season.
"I actually didn't watch that Bain match until last week," Allen said. "Looking back on it, it kind of stinks knowing I was so close, but I was lifting weights the next day at 5:30 in the morning. It got me motivated. I'm bigger and stronger, and I've improved a lot of stuff. Overall, I think I'm a better wrestler."
The technique has been there all season for Allen, and as he prepared to head downstate, he did so with a humble mindset.
"I'm going in with a 0-0 record and taking it one match at a time," he said. "All the training is in, and right now I have to show up, compete and do my best, and hope that's good enough to win."
Sophomore teammate Juwan Edmund also will also be vying for a state title at 138 pounds after he finished third at the sectional with a 4-3 win over Marist's Matt Sears. The third-place win capped a 3-1 day at the tournament for the regional champion. Edmund (38-9) was scheduled to face Waubonsie Valley's Howard Beatty in the first round. Beatty topped Edmund 9-8 at 145 pounds early in the season.
Matt Price (106), George Tolbert (120) and Ernest Battaglia (152) will be state alternates. James Manikas (126), Tom Ward (145), Tim Glavin (160), Keith Schmidt (170), Andrew Pyle (195) and Matt Allen (220) also competed at the sectional.
Allen's sectional scores
Quarterfinals: 9-3 decision
Semifinals: Fall, 4:45
Finals: 15-5 major decision
What: Class 3A wrestling individual tournament
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday; 8:30 a.m. Friday; 9 a.m. Saturday
Where: Assembly Hall, Champaign
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