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Sports

Wrestling: Burlington Central's Macias looks on a mission

Defending state champ leads area state qualifiers to Champaign

Burlington Central's Austin Macias pressures Izaih James of Rock Falls in their 126-pound quarterfinal in the Class 2A Sycamore Sectional on Feb. 9.
Burlington Central's Austin Macias pressures Izaih James of Rock Falls in their 126-pound quarterfinal in the Class 2A Sycamore Sectional on Feb. 9.

SYCAMORE – Austin Macias has nothing left to prove.

The Burlington Central senior has a state title on his resume, and has his college future already firmed up.

It's about separating himself now.

Macias looks ready to do just that. He won the 126-pound championship at the Class 2A Sycamore Sectional on Feb. 10, and will look to defend his state championship this weekend in Champaign.

Macias said he's just focused on having fun.

"I've got my scholarship and everything like that, so I'm just wrestling," Macias said. "I feel a lot more offensive. I've been a little more dominant in my attacks. Last year I had to prove something, so I was kind of tight or tense. Now I'm trying to distance myself from my opponents, and it's paying off."

At sectionals No. 1-ranked Macias (30-3) pinned Rock Falls' Izaih James and Bloomington's Ryan Gardner, then won a 7-3 decision over Ottawa's Ethan Harsted, ranked No. 2, in the final.

Macias feels good about where he's at, and the season he's had.

"I"ve had three losses, but in my mind I see it as three competitive matches," Macias said. "I was excited to get those matches, but ultimately, the state series, I'm just going to have fun win or lose. I plan on winning."

Macias, who is committed to SIU-Edwardsville, won sectionals as a freshman but did not as a sophomore.

"Last year I had a chip on my shoulder, and I kind or liked it," Macias said. "This year I'm feeling pretty confident especially because I know I can beat these kids. It's a good feeling."

"I've seen senior champs just come in coast. He's really on a mission to put a good product for next year," Rockets coach Jordan Bakley said. "I think his coach down at SIU-E is expecting a lot of things out of him. Might even be expecting him to start as a true freshman."

Macias will be joined in Champaign by teammate Nick Termini, second at 145 pounds at Sycamore. Termini (30-7) won a 21-8 major decision over Canton's Tristin Rilea and pinned Plano's Ivan Garcia, then lost a 6-2 decision to Washington's Blaize Punke in the final.

"He wrestled great. It was a great match," Bakley said. "They're ranked one and two in the state. I think we have a lot to work on and Nick knows that. He's in a good spot. He's in a good place. He saw a different type of physicality than he's used to seeing. We expected that but didn't really anticipate how strong that kid is."

Kaneland will once again be represented in Champaign by Nathan Orosco, second at 120 pounds at Sycamore. Orosco (29-8) won a 6-0 decision over Geneseo's Luke Henkhaus and a 5-2 decision over Peoria Notre Dame's Grant Peterson, then lost to Washington's Zeke Hulet 3-1 in the final.

"He wrestled tough," Kaneland coach Joe Orosco said. "Him being the last one here, it's kind of tough. He had a good tournament. We wish that last match had gone a certain way, but whatever."

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