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      Champaign Wishes: Pittsfield's Abney looks to prove his top ranking is no mistake

      PITTSFIELD'S ABNEY TRIES TO STRONGARM HIS WAY TO A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP

      He checks in at 170 pounds...and seemingly 70% of that weight is carried in his biceps.

      Suffice it to say, Zach Abney cuts a pretty imposing figure on the Wrestling Mats...which is appropriate because the Pittsfield Senior is also the

      And he's decidedly...All Business in his approach, demeanor and focus on a singular goal.

      Zach Abney: "Being #1 in the state...that's what I have been dreaming of for the last four years. So it would complete my dreams and just know that if I put my mind to it, I can accomplish anything."

      If the state polls are to be believed, Zach Abney will indeed stand that podium at season's end. He's been the top ranked 170 pounder in Class A this season from wire to wire. But this Saukee star isn't one to buy his own press clippings.

      Abney: "Really, it doesn't really matter to be me because rankings are just rankings and anyone can prove themselves better or worse than that....You are walking around the hallways and everyone's "oh, there's the #1 state ranked kid in Illinois." It's just something to put a name by, I guess."

      If you haven't already gathered...for all his talent and acclaim (and all those wins) Zach remains a very grounder wrestler. One mature enough to pull from his setbacks in the ultimate cause of getting that State Title.

      Abney: "No, I haven't lost to a Class A kid (this year.) I've lost two to Dakota Downs. He's a 3A kid; a really good kid. Losing to him, it taught me to realize that there are good wrestlers out there. It showed me I can step up and compete with those kids...."

      "Last Year (at state) I was just up there to place. It really didn't bother me too much. I mean, yeah, being a junior and going to state, I had hoped for big things. And placing 5th was a pretty big thing for wrestling in the whole state of Illinois. So, I mean, it really didn't take me down or anything. Just made me realize what I had to do for this year..."

      "It has been my summer workouts....went to Mizzou Camp and everything. And just realizing that this is my year to change, this is my year to be on top."