CHAMPAIGN -- Looking a little the worse for wear, Hersey senior Hunter Rollins managed to overcome several visits with the medical staff to outlast No. 11 Alex Anaya (Downers Grove South, 39-7) to win his opening match of the wrestling state tournament late Thursday night at Assembly Hall.
The No. 3-rated 160-pounder put a scare into the Hersey faithful when he appeared to injure an already bum shoulder in the early stages of his bout with Anaya, then needed some time to attend to a bloody nose.
"Yeah, it's all part of the sport sometimes," said Rollins (40-2), who went into the locker room with both sides of his nosed packed full of gauze, and in search of an extra-large ice bag for his shoulder.
"The fact is, I was on the offensive in the first two periods and really did nothing with it, and I obviously should have opened it up a little bit more," he said. "I'll make sure to do so (Friday).
Rollins will meet No. 7 Matt Schneider (Lincoln-Way Central, 41-7) in an 8:30 a.m. quarterfinal, a place where just a few from the area will be competing after a rought first round ended well after 10 p.m. Thursday.
Sadarriss Patterson (23-5) of Schaumburg fell to Schneider. His teammates, Schaumburg's Luke Gruszka (145, 37-7) and Austin Mannetta (182, 23-16), were unable to continue.
The same could be said of the Conant brother duo of Bobby (120, 33-4) and Mitch Alexander (152, 11-2).
A trio of Mid-Suburban League champions from Barrington -- Miguel Camarena (120), Kevin Conrad (132) and Mark Shealy (182, 36-7) -- suffered losses and will now wait to see if the opponent who beat them stays alive in the front draw.
Buffalo Grove's Brian Egan (37-2) won't have to wait following a superb 3-1 victory over Michael O'Connor (St. Rita, 36-10) to stay alive in a wickedly competitive 132-pound division which features a ton of talent.
Egan's victory was important on several levels, the most important being that a loss to No. 2 Larry Early (OPRF, 43-0) keeps the senior still in the running for a medal, even in defeat.
"It was kind of a do-or-die match," said Egan, who is competing in the tournament for a second consecutive season and knows he'll be an underdog against the undefeated Early. "I wrestled my best match and really didn't allow him to do anything that he wanted to do."
Big men Shola George (Prospect, 43-3) and Ben Calamari (Barrington, 35-7) will continue to carry the MSL flag forward at heavyweight following victories.
George upended No. 4 Nick Allegretti (Lincoln-Way East, 36-4) while Calamari, the reigning MSL champ, recorded a 6-3 win over Kyrin Tucker of Normal Community.
The top two competitors from the conference will next meet Corinthian McBridge (TF-South, 38-3) and Alex Fritz (Marmion Academy, 36-13), respectively.
Leyden senior Javier Rhoades (25-5) lost in his first-ever state appearance to McBridge 9-2.
Schaumburg senior Matt Stopka (36-7, 195) continues to excel during the postseason following a 7-3 win over Ben Threloff (St. Rita) on Thursday. Stopka next opposes one of the big throwers of the tournament, Sage Hecox (Harlem, 21-3) Friday morning.
The first round of wrestlebacks will take place at approximately 1 p.m., with semifinals set for 7 p.m.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.