CHAMPAIGN | Nate Jackson had just one goal for the weekend: to be dominant.
The Marian senior was just that in the weekend's IHSA wrestling championships, pinning Lemont's Eric Kirkman in the final match to win the 2A 170-pound state title.
"When I heard the crowd erupt, it was just such a relief," Jackson said. "I've been working so hard for this. I've been wanting this for a long time, and this was exactly how I wanted it to happen."
Jackson was leading 13-4 when he trapped Kirkman on his back with 31 seconds left in the second period, capping off a weekend in which he outscored opponents 72-30, registering two technical falls along the way.
"I wanted to keep the pressure up on everyone," Jackson said. "I just wanted to go out and be dominant, and I was really fortunate the way it all turned out."
Jackson (38-1) was one of two local wrestlers to win a state title, with Thornton's Kris Williams winning the 3A 106-pound championship with a 4-3 decision over Oark Park-River Forest's Matthew Rundell.
The freshman wrestler shook off pre-match jitters to get off on a fast start, registering a takedown in the opening moments of the match.
Holding a 4-1 advantage in the final period, Williams went for a pin but Rundell pulled a reversal to make it a one-point match. Williams was able to fend off Rundell for nearly a minute to win.
"It's a big stage and a big match, and I got a little nervous before it started," Williams said. "That all went away after we shook hands. I knew the match was starting and I just got into the zone, and then I was ready to go."
Williams (20-2) is Thornton's first state champion since Shaun Carter won the Class AA 171-pound title in 1995.
Mount Carmel sophomore Bryce Brill (45-1) lost in the 3A title match for 145 pounds, losing 3-2 in the fourth overtime period to Stagg's Kevin Moylan.
Last year, Brill was a Class 2A state champ at Marmion Academy.
Brill led 2-1 with a minute remaining in the match when Moylan nearly pulled a reversal on Brill with 10 seconds left. Moylan was still able to escape, sending the match to extra periods.
"This is going to fuel how I go about these next few years here, which I'm excited about," Brill said. "You can't win them all, and this isn't going to change the way I wrestle at all. I didn't think I even wrestled that bad."
Brill was one of three Caravan wrestlers to place at this year's state tournament.
Caravan senior Mike Mizaur (36-6) took third place at 132 pounds, beating Palatine's Ronnie Hauser 17-6 in the third place match.
"After losing that quarterfinals match that I was heavily favored in, I wanted to come out and wrestle with a chip on my shoulders, and I dominated after that," Mazaur said.
Caravan junior David Denne (24-7) placed fourth in 220 pounds, losing a 3-1 decision in the third place match to Deerfield's Artie Bess.
Crete junior Austin Rosenfeldt took sixth place after falling in Saturday's quarterfinals. After maneuvering through the wrestleback portion of the bracket, Rosenfeldt lost 2-1 in the fifth-place match to Sterling's Curtis Lilly.