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Lopez was the loser by a tech fall last year as McGee finished the season 43-0. He’s had one goal since.
“After getting second last year, there’s pretty much only one place to go,” DeKalb wrestling coach Sam Hiatt said. “It was a big goal of his to win that state championship, basically since he lost that match last year. He trained hard and accomplishing that goal was awesome to see.”
Lopez still has two seasons left at DeKalb. He said the loss last year sparked him throughout this year, but said future titles are going to have to be sparked from within.
“I think I have to challenge myself in different ways, not just being No. 1,” Lopez said. “Challenging myself in the mat room, outside, even in school. It’s going to be hard now that I’m probably going to be going in there as No. 1, but you know what, I’m ready for a challenge.”
A big source of future motivation for Lopez will come from colleges, he said. He hasn’t had much contact yet but said he is thinking about where he wants to go.
“Obviously, the Big Ten is ideal, but whatever college loves me, whatever college offers the most is where I’m going to go,” Lopez said. “I’d rather go to a school that loves me then a high-rep school.”