CHAMPAIGN -- Jon Marmolejo has the ultimate chance at redemption on Saturday in the Class 3A 126-pound wrestling state-championship match.
The Glenbard North senior has a chance to reverse his only defeat of the season, but Johnny Jimenez has his own agenda.
The Marmion senior dispatched two DuPage Valley Conference members, Dayton Olson of Glenbard East and Dylan Thomas of Wheaton North, to advance to his fourth consecutive state finals appearance.
The Wisconsin-bound senior has an opportunity to become the 12th athlete in state history to win four individual state championships.
Glenbard North 132-pounder Jered Cortez and Josh Alber, of Class 1A Dakota, also have the same opportunity.
Alber, who is trying to finish his storied career with an unbeaten record, is the only in-state athlete to defeat Jimenez the last two seasons.
"I am going out and wrestling every kid like it's a state-title match," said Jimenez, who improved to 41-3 on the season with his second-period semifinal pin against Thomas. "Being here before really helps mentally. I am going to take (my match against Marmolejo) one period at a time. I know what he does. He knows what I do."
The second day of festivities at the University of Illinois' Assembly Hall was not nearly as fruitful for the remainder of the Marmion wrestling team.
Beginning with seven quarterfinalists on Friday, Nathan Traxler and Josh Meyers were the only other Marmion wrestlers to reach the semis.
Deerfield senior Colton Emmerich had a takedown and pair of back points in quick succession in the first period, and Traxler never recovered in the 182-pound match.
"I am really angry right now," Traxler said after his 5-2 loss. "I couldn't finish three shots. I should have beat him."
Meyers' heroic postseason run also came to a close as the Cadets' senior was knocked into the consolation bracket at 195 pounds after Lockport junior Tyler Johnson extended his season-long winning streak to 51 matches with his 9-3 victory.
"I don't care whether (my wrestlers) win or lose as long as they give me everything they've got," Marmion coach Ryan Cumbee said. "You have to remember that we're a real young team. We still have seven guys alive. Seven guys making it to Saturday is pretty special."
Marmion had its run of multiple state champions end at four seasons.
The Cadets' Lucas Warren and Batavia senior Connor McKeehan will have a rematch of their Waubonsie Valley regional final at 220 pounds as a showcase match in the consolation rounds Saturday.
Jimenez is not the only local wrestler to make history.
Aurora Central Catholic never had a wrestler finish better than fourth, but Eddie Gonzalez had a day to remember to chart a new course for the nascent program.
The Class 1A heavyweight handed Argenta senior Tyler Ortmann his first loss of the season in the quarterfinals.
The Chargers' 285-pounder than had a first-period takedown and 3-point near-fall as the centerpiece of a 6-0 semifinal win over Sherrard senior Ben Corlett.
Gonzalez will face Gibson City senior Josh Wallick in the championship match tomorrow.
"It feels pretty good," Gonzalez said on becoming the first finalist in school history. "I have worked really hard. I felt that I frustrated (Corlett). He tried throwing me, and I was able to counter that and score on him."