Boys wrestling: Marian Central punches ticket to IHSA state tournament with win over Byron

Hurricanes will make fourth trip to state, first since 2020

Marian Central poses after beating Byron 48-28 in Tuesday's Class 1A Newman Central Dual Team Sectional in Sterling.

STERLING – Max Astacio and Anthony Alanis wanted to make sure they appreciated what Marian Central accomplished Tuesday night.

While the seniors had a business-like approach in their dual against Byron at the Class 1A Newman Central Dual Team Sectional, they also knew the significance of beating the Tigers 48-28.

A year after Marian lost in the sectional round, the Hurricanes earned redemption and were heading to the IHSA dual team state tournament for the first time since 2020.

“We’ve been working for this moment for a while,” Alanis said. “This is just step two to the three-step process from regionals, sectionals to now state. It feels good to complete step two.”

Step three will start Friday night at Bloomington’s Grossinger Motors Arena in the quarterfinals where the Hurricanes will compete against either Canton or LeRoy co-op. The Hurricanes will try to win their first state championship in their fourth trip to state.

Marian (23-11) got off to a commanding start Tuesday. The Hurricanes grabbed an 18-0 lead after freshman Jimmy Mastny won by fall at 157 pounds before Astacio took 165 by forfeit and freshman Nicolas Astacio won at 175 by fall.

Byron won the next three matches to pull within 18-15 before Marian showed off its strong lineup. Senior Chandler Gardner (106) won by forfeit before Alanis (113) won by fall. Juniors Brayden Teunissen (126) and Vance Williams (132) each took their matches by forfeit and junior Andrew Alvarado (138) won by fall to secure the win for the Hurricanes.

Alanis knew the Hurricanes were in good shape as soon as the dual flipped to 106.

“When we get in our zone, we’re all looking for pins,” Alanis said. “When we get into that zone, we’re locked in.”

Marian co-coach Jordan Blanton was impressed with the way the Hurricanes responded after many of them competed at the IHSA individual state tournament in Champaign on Saturday. The Hurricanes had the opportunity to train as a team over the weekend in Champaign because much of the team traveled south, even the wrestlers who didn’t qualify for state.

We’ve been working for this moment for a while. This is just step two to the three-step process from regionals, sectionals to now state. It feels good to complete step two.”

—  Anthony Alanis, Marian Central senior

Blanton was particularly impressed with wrestlers like Williams, Alanis and Max Astacio who didn’t reach their goals of winning an individual state championship. They came back determined and led their team to one of its best performances of the season.

“This is one of the best team efforts we put together the whole year,” Blanton said. “It wasn’t perfect, but I was very happy with the performance.”

The Hurricanes will try to keep their business-like approach as they compete in Friday’s quarterfinal. While moments like Tuesday might be impressive, there’s still a lot more to come.

“This was a debut moment,” Max Astacio said. “This isn’t our full potential, not our full strength. There’s still a lot to come when it comes down to the wire.”