CHAMPAIGN – Nick Termini walks away from the wrestling mat perfect.
Termini, a Burlington Central senior, did it again. The defending Class 2A 145-pound state champion outfoxed Danville's Anthony Turner in a 1-0 decision on Saturday in Champaign to finish his season with a perfect repeat state championship.
"I never would've dreamed 50-0," said a beaming Termini. "That's a very perfect ending to a very perfect season."
Termini, an Old Dominion commit, entered the state tournament 46-0. He motored through three opponents to return to the 145-pound finals.
And got it done.
"You join an elite group," Termini said of his consecutive titles. "My coach told me: 'A true champion is someone who defends their title.' So to become, in my eyes, a true champion...it really means a lot to me."
Termini joins his best friend Austin Macias as the two wrestlers in Central history to win two state titles. Macias won Central's first ever individual state championship two years ago, and again last year.
Fittingly, Macias was in the stands Saturday to root on his best buddy.
Macias, as it turns out, was in the stands on Saturday.
"It's an awesome feeling knowing that me and one of my best buddies we're going to be in the history books at Central forever," Termini said.
Vince Govea, an assistant wrestling coach at Central for all four years of Termini's career, saw it all.
"Being here three years in a row – and two-time state champ is pretty awesome," Govea said.
In one year, Central's Josue "Josh" Ferro went from nine varsity wins last season to fourth place in Class 2A at 220 pounds on Saturday.
How does that sound to him?
"Sounds like hard work," Ferro said following a tough 7-6 loss to Glenwood's Conner Miller.
Ferro, a sophomore, nearly pulled off a stunning finish. Down 6-4 at the end of the second period, Ferro earned a reversal with 20 seconds left in the third period to tie it. Miller powered through Ferro's grasp to earn a gut-wrenching escape with roughly three seconds left to win.
Ferro has come a long way in one season. An increase in confidence is a big reason why.
"I know I could do it," Ferro said. "I know I could be here."
Ferro wrestled as a freshman at 220 before slimming down in the offseason. However, after competing at 195 pounds for a large portion of this season, Burlington Central coach Ashton Brown bumped him back up a weight class.
Ferro's newest success has lit a fire to return next season and beyond.
"I think next year [I'll try] for first place," Ferro said. "If I got to work harder and harder, that's what I got to do."
"He's just a testament to when a kid has a goal, and commits to it, what can happen," Brown said. "We thought he'd probably have a better shot in the postseason at 220. I'd be crazy if I told you I expected – when we bumped him up to 220 – for him to place fourth in the state."