CHAMPAIGN -- Even in his state debut, Adarios Jones wrestled liked a veteran.|
Handling the pressure meant the Moline 285-pound junior handled his business. At no point did it appear Jones lost control in his Class 3A state meet opener on Thursday night, pushing him to a comfortable 6-1 win over Machesney Park Harlem's Jared Carlton at the Assembly Hall.
"It's breathtaking," Jones said. "But just like every other match, nothing changes. I went out there and wrestled like I wrestle. Just because it's state doesn't mean I'm going to change how I wrestle."
In his first-ever visit to the Assembly Hall, Jones gave the Maroons their first state victory since 2006.
Obviously, the venue did not faze Jones.
"Coming out here, it's good," Jones said. "But it's not like I'm not used to the atmosphere."
Two trips to the ASICS/Vaughan Junior and Cadet National Championships prepared Jones for this moment. When his named was called, he calmly walked to the mat. From there, it was the same routine he's had in any other match.All that led to a similar result.
Other than a brief second-period stretch, Jones held control. Carlton did get a 1-0 lead on a free escape, but then surrendered a point to Jones after his second stalling call.
Four of Jones' six points came on stalls.
"I was taking shots and trying to throw," Jones said. "When he backs up so much, it's hard to score. That's why he almost stalled out of the match."
Even though he did not record a takedown, Jones was aggressive as he beat Carlton for the second time this season. The inability to really open up offensively against an opponent who constantly retreated did not give Jones the kind of bout he needs to prepare for today's quarterfinal.
However, experience has taught him that he can come through.
"This is going to happen," Jones said. "I'm going to go out there, wrestle and try to hit my moves. I will continue to progress. ... I'm not going to force something."
Up next is Hinsdale Central junior Brian Allen. When postseason started, Allen was ranked No. 1 by Illinois Best Weekly and No. 9 nationally by InterMat.
"Everyone is beatable," Jones said. "I'll prove that."
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