CHAMPAIGN —Jake Cochrane came downstate with a couple of goals: extend one tradition and start another.
Lake County heavyweights have had a successful run in Class 2A lately, with Vernon Hills' Jermey Brazil reaching two state title bouts and winning one last year. Cochrane also won a medal last season, taking fourth.
But the Carmel senior has set the bar higher this weekend.
"I'm going for the title," Cochrane said after beating Freeport's Kendal Parker 3-0 in a Class 2A preliminary match Thursday at Assembly Hall. "Start my own legacy at Carmel, [become its] first state champ ever."
Cochrane (41-1), who's ranked No. 2 in 2A by Illinois Best Weekly, and fourth-ranked Parker were scoreless through two periods. But Cochrane escaped early in the third and clinched the win with a takedown in the final 15 seconds.
Maintaining his stamina was a major point of emphasis, according to Cochrane.
"I knew I had to have gas in the tank, no matter what," he said.
He wasn't surprised to be tested early in the state tournament.
"I knew it was going to be a tough match, going into it," Cochrane said. "It's a tough match, just getting the jitters out, no matter what."
Cochrane was one of seven Lake County wrestlers to move into Friday morning
's Class 2A quarterfinals, as Antioch, Vernon Hills and Wauconda all advanced a pair.
Wauconda qualified second-ranked Devin Tortorice (38-4) at 132 and third-ranked Nate Magiera (34-1) at 220. Vernon Hills' qualifiers were second-ranked Jordan Reich (43-5) at 106 and David Pierce (40-7) at 145, while Antioch's first-round winners were Briley Schultz (33-14) at 106 and Mike Gussarson (37-10) at 132.
In Class 3A, three Lake County wrestlers advanced: Stevenson's third-ranked Justin Weber (39-3) at 145, Warren's Danny Hicks (38-3) at 170 and Grant's third-ranked Tony Cashmore (30-1) at 182.