Area wrestlers happy to be back on the mat

Sports

WCIA — Hayden Copass was looking for back-to-back state championships, but now he’s just making the most of the time he has left as a high school wrestler.

“I didn’t think I was having a season,” says Copass. “When I was told we were going to wrestle, I was excited and I got back to training.”

The Westville-Georgetown Ridge Farm Wrestling program has never had a wrestler win state two years in a row. With no official postseason, Copass won’t be that guy. Now his motivation is to get ready for college, after signing with Wisconsin.

“Just knowing that I’m going to the next level, I don’t want to slow down,” says Copass. “I just gotta keep going.”

Getting back to state was a common goal for several area athletes, including Mahomet’s Daniel Renshaw. His name is already etched onto one of the many banners in the Mahomet Wrestling room, but he had his sights set on redemption after a fifth-place finish at state last season.

“That was a bit disappointing at first, but I’m still glad that we get the opportunity to wrestle,” says Renshaw. “I do have the opportunity to wrestle in college.”

That means another chance to compete at the State Farm Center. The senior is committed to Illinois, but still has plenty to wrestle for as a Bulldog. They are undefeated this season, with the hopes of finishing a perfect season.

“We’ve lost so much that we just have to keep going,” says Renshaw.

“You hear all kinds of people say it, ‘Embrace the suck,'” says Mahomet senior Gage Granadino. “Coach [Rob] Ledin’s instilled that in my mind like, ‘Be the man, you’re in this sport for a reason.'”

“A storied program like this one, 15 state trophies, five state championships,” says Ledin. “We want to get back to that level of course, and bring it back to where Mahomet used to be.”

The Bulldogs have two returning state qualifiers from last season, but for the program to produce it’s first champion since 2009 they will have to wait another year.

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