QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -- Dakota Downs isn't holding back.
The Quincy High senior isn't just hopeful of making the state wrestling meet, Downs wants to place and the sixth ranked wrestler in the 170-pound weight class in Class 3A is one step closer to that goal.
Downs won a regional title Saturday in Granite City improving his overall record to an impressive 36-1. Not bad for someone who's battled a torn meniscus in his left knee throughout his senior season.
Downs, who needs a top four finish at this weekend's sectional to qualify for state, is eager for a chance to show off his skills at Illinois' biggest tournament.
"It would be really, really big. I've been wanting to get (to state) for so long. Last year I got hurt and this year I have a really good chance of making it, and if I make it (this year) that would be perfect," Downs explained.
"It's going to be tough but I have just have to take it one match at a time. You can't worry about who you're going to (wrestle) in the finals or who you're going to (wrestle) in the semi's, you just got to take it one person at a time."
Dakota is trying to chase down his mentor, his father, and Quincy High assistant coach Chad Downs who placed fifth at the 1990 state meet.
He's also trying to put the Blue Devil wrestling team back on the radar. Downs joins teammates, freshman Trevor Schutte and junior Garrard Straube, as sectional qualifiers.
Downs says success this weekend will aid in his cause.
"It would be pretty good because we haven't had anybody (at state) in a long time. To get somebody to the state tournament, not only get there but maybe placing, would be a big, big part of getting Quincy's name back out there," Downs told WGEM Sports.
"There's pressure but I kind of just block it, try to block it anyway."
The Blue Devil trio will try and earn spots at the state tournament at Saturday's sectional in Moline.