CHAMPAIGN — Mattoon senior Creed Janes made the most of his final appearance in the IHSA Class 2A wrestling preliminaries Thursday at the University of Illinois’ Assembly Hall. After losing in the prelims last year, Janes jumped out on top against Frank Voltattorni of Chicago Heights Marion with a few takedowns and eventually Janes won on a pin in three minutes, 45 seconds. Janes, 33-5, is to face Wauconda’s Devin Tortorice, a 2-1 double overtime winner over Washington freshman Randy Menewether, today on one of the six mats in the quarterfinals at 8:30 a.m. Tortorice is 38-4.
“Creed looked really good today,” said Mattoon coach Brett Porter. “I think after losing last year in the first round I think it has been a focus of his since that day of state last year. He really wanted to come out and perform. I think his mind he can go really far in this tournament.”
“The first match at state is the most important besides the state championship,” said Janes. “I feel like I got off to a pretty good start.”
Mattoon junior Cooper Collings lost by a 7-0 decision to Oak Forest’s Danny Swan, taking 2-0 after one and 5-0 after two periods.
Janes, along with his coaches and Cooper, went to Applebee’s to load up on the carbohydrates before heading to the hotel to relax and then to the Assembly Hall, and led 7-1 after the first period.
“I knew that I could take him down and I knew that I could ride him,” said Janes. “I usually stay on my feet, but coach told me to ride him and try and stick him and I did. I feel pretty good about that.”
As for the quick start Porter said, “We also focus on getting the first take down. He really put his self in the driver’s seat by getting the first couple of take downs in the first period and it just kind of snowballed from there. He did a great job.”
Janes felt being a senior helps.
“Knowing this is my last year to do anything in high school, I came in here with a completely different mindset,” said Janes. “It is a whole different deal when you are a senior just knowing that each match could be your last. It (the fact the he was at state last year) helped immensely. Last year it was almost surreal. The coach was telling me it is just another match and not to let it get to you. That is what my mind set was in the tunnel, but when I walked out here you get on the mats and you kind of look around. So, that first year I got the cobwebs out and now I know what I need to do. It is all about determination this year.”
As for facing Tortorice, Porter said, “I think he can compete with about anyone in his weight class in this building. I am sure he will do the best he can.”
As for his goal Janes said, “I feel like I can get to the finals if I wrestle how I know how and make no mistakes.”
If Swan beats Rockford Boylans’ Sean Barelli today in the quarterfinals Collings, 24-7, is to wrestle in the wrestlebacks at 1 p.m. today at the Assembly Hall.
“Cooper did a great job,” said Porter. “The kid he wrestled was tough. He did the best he could. He couldn’t finish a couple of shots that he got in deep on, but this is a learning experience for him and he is picking up a lot of things. I think he will be in wrestlebacks and hopefully he will be ready to go.”
Contact Mike Monahan at email@example.com or 238-6854.