CP, Lowell send four to state finals
By Mark Smith firstname.lastname@example.org February 12, 2013 11:44AM
Crown Point's Josh Fuqua placed second at 126 pounds during the wrestling semi-state on Saturday, February 9, 2013. | Mark Smith~Sun-Times Media
Merrillville Wrestling Semistate
2-9-13 @ Merrillville
106: Jake Sinkovics (Mishawaka) tech fall 25-10 over Drew Hildebrandt (Penn.
113: Stevan Micic (HANOVER) 19-4 over Zach Davis (Penn)
120: Drew Hughes (LOWELL) pinned Luis Munoz (Warsaw), 5:01.
126: Blake Denton (Twin Lakes) 2-1 over. Josh Fuqua (CP)
132: Trevor Burlison (CP) 8-6 over Mitch Hartman (Clay)
138: Tommy Forte (Mishawaka) 3-2 over Anthony McHugh (CMA)
145: Tristan Macri (Mishawaka) 7-6 over Joe Mammolenti (Penn)
152: Dustin Schurg (CP) 2-1 over Samuel Ferdig (Adams).
160: Mark Maldonado (Highland) 3-1 over Damien Gomez (Noll)
170: Bobby Stevenson (MERRILLVILLE) 9-4 over Scottie Sopko (Hobart).
182: Matt Hurford (Culver) 16-7 maj.dec. over Ryan Jankowski (St. Joe’s).
195: Jacob Ricks (Benton Central) 8-4 over Justin Berumen (Delphi).
220: Gelen Robinson (LC) pinned Seth Meyer (Harrisone) 0:47.
285: Shawn Streck (MERRILLVILLE) pinned Shakir Carr (Clay), 5:08.
Updated: February 12, 2013 12:08PM
MERRILLVILLE — Looking from a distance, the unofficial winner of Saturday’s Merrillville wrestling semistate had to be Lowell.
Lowell isn’t a small school but it is less than half the size of Crown Point, Portage, Penn and Merrillville.
Saturday, on the purple mats at Merrillville, the Pirates won the semistate championship and had seven state qualifiers.
Crown Point had four state qualifiers, and like Merrillville finished with two champions in seniors Trevor Burlison (132) and Dusty Schurg (152) taking home gold medals.
Merrillville’s winners were 170-pound sophomore Bobby Steveson and heavyweight Shawn Streck. Portage had four state qualifiers but no semistate champs.
Lowell’s only winner was freshman Drew Hughes (120) but it had three third place winners in Kenny Hughes (160), Ryan Paterson (195) and Mitch Roadruck (145).
Lowell, again, stood as tall as the much larger schools on the biggest stage in wrestling and the things is: They weren’t that surprised.
“I never really looked at it like that,” said coach Bobby Howard, the former Red Devil state champ who understandebly considers Lowell’s wrestling program equal to that of the big DAC schools. “I do. I knew coming into ths year that dual meet-wise we’d be average or a little better, but that we have six of seven who were going to be tough in the individual tournament. It just doesn’t come as much of surprise that we are right there with them. We just expect to be.”
CP’s Burlison was not favored to win at 132 pounds but he expected to win, pinning Clay’s Mitch Hartman, 8-6 to win his fourth match of thre day, the semistate championship and a lot of pride.
“It feels great to make him break,” Trevor said. “I knew he was going to. That was my plan. I’ve seen him take many injury times to get his inhaler. It was my goal to make him quit. In the room, we (his teammates) are not friends. We get into it. We put our nose to the grindstone and get after it. It’s worth everything.
“It’s definitely the highlight of my career. I was predicted to get third. I took it as a slap in the face. I came in trying to make a point of getting on top of the podium.”
Crown Point had an unexpected day. While Burlison and Dusty Schurg won, undefeated regional champions Josh Fuqua and Morgan Kral both lost.
Fuqua lost 2-1 in the finals 126 but He can still win state. Kral cannot. He lost his opener 6-4 and, even though he won two consolation matches and finished fifth.
It seems unfair that an undefeated wrestler can win two of three matches at the semistate and be eliminated from the state tournament.
But many in the crowd at Merrillville thought that it was unfair that Fuqua lost the 126-pound title.
The CP sophomore appeared to score a takedown with 17 seconds left to go ahead of Twin Lakes’ Blake Denton 3-2, but the Twin Lakes coach questioned the call.
Meet officials conferred and overturned the ruling even though Fuqua appeared to be in bounds and have control of Denton.
Local fans booed as Denton hung on to win 2-1.
Dusty Schurg defeated South Bend Adams’s Sam Ferdig 2-1 in the title match at 152 pounds, but it had to be a litle bittersweet for him as younger brother Darden Schurg lost early and finished sixth and ended his season.
“It was really hard to see him lose,” Dusty said. “But I couldn’t let it bug me. I’ve been wrestling all my life. This is my last year. I want to end up on top of the podium. I might’ve slacked for a match or two, but I’m going to really prepare, train my hardest and be ready to go.”
Like Fuqua, Lowell’s Kenny Hughes, Drew’s older brother, lost for the first time this season in the semifinals 1-0 against Highland Mark Maldanoado, who went on to win the semistate title.
Kenny Hughes won the third place match 5-0 over Merrillville’s Matt Hollins, and he still is in good position to go to the final eight (with a win Friday) and battle for the state title at 160.
Roadruck and Patterson both took the third place match which gives them a chance at the finals.
Fourth place finishers at the semistate are matched against other region’s semistate champs, who are often undefeated state-rated stars.
Placing third at the semistate matches you against a second place finisher from another region, a much better option if you wish to survive.
Hanover Central state champ Steve Micic moved on in his bid to join Andrew Howe as the school’s only multiple state champions by winning four times easily, finally by tech fall 19-4 in the championship match at 113.
“Obviously, that’s what I’m working for,” he said, “but you can’t really overlook anything. You have to stay in the moment. I’ll do the same thing this week, train hard, make sure I’m perfecting my technique. I made a few mistakes I want to fix.”
Micic remembers the state finals, where he won at 106 pounds last February.
“I love it.” he said. “It was a cool experience. It was an awesome feeling and I want to do it again.”
If there was a highlight to the day for CP, other than the two champs, it was senior Matt Langbehn, who won his first two matches and eventually finished fourth, qualfiying for the state finals after losing the championship match at both the sectional and regional.
“I’m very happy,” Matt said after his second win. “I just knew I had to work harder. I just think you have to learn from every match.
“I lost the sectional (to Hanover’s Tony Scott) with two seconds left. I could have run around in circles. I didn’t have a stalling penalty on me at that point. I could have just walked around the ring. Today, I won by a point and I remembered that. I just thought, ‘I can’t let that happen again.’
“Sometimes when I go out there, I forget that that’s another kid who’s been doing the same thing I have. He doesn’t know what I’ve been doing. Whether I’ve been winning or losing. He does not know what’s happened to me at all. Sometimes I forget that.”
The state finals begin with preliminary matches Friday night at what is now called Banker’s Life Fieldhouse (fomerly Conseco Fieldhouse) in downtown Indianapolis.
Friday winners advance to the quarterfinals and wrestle three times for final honors Saturday.
SEMSTATE NOTES: It’s not biting commentary to say that new format of the semistate does not work well.
If a wrestler loses his first match, he then falls into a consolation bracket where he’s wrestling for fifth place.
Since only the top four finishers go to the finals, the last two consolation matches are meaningless and often without spirit.
The worthless fifth-place bracket extends the meet to a painful time length. Saturday’s semistate meet ended after 8:30 p.m., and that’s an almost 12-hour day.
It’s just too long, especially for teams that traveled 100 miles away and won’t get home until midnight in the Eastern time zone.
You don’t have to be a wrestling expert to see that there’s just no need for semistate consolation matches for boys who cannot advance to the state finals.