Wrestling: Crown Point wins its 11th straight sectional title
CROWN POINT — It’s becoming almost like a birthday, except for the fact it occurs on a different day every year.
While winning an 11th consecutive sectional title is definitely a big accomplishment and something not to be taken for granted, it’s a feat that’s pretty much expected with a wrestling program like Crown Point.
Even though the Bulldogs placed 13 in Saturday’s finals — eight were crowned champions and five were runners-up — coach Scott Vlink’s team has bigger fish to fry.
“There’s a lot to be happy about today,” he said. “Our conditioning was good. Our riding’s been good. We’re healthy and we’re feeling good. I felt we wrestled well today, but this is just step one of a long process. The key thing is to stay healthy and advance. We have 14 kids moving on to wrestle next week (at the CP Regional) and right now, that’s the most important thing.”
The Bulldogs chalked up 297.5 points to easily out-distance second-place Lowell (207) and third-place Valparaiso (197).
Riley Akers (106), Josh Fuqua (126), Trevor Burlison (132), Darden Schurg (138), Dustin Schurg (152), Jacob Hazi (170), Morgan Kral (195) and Steven Potoskey (220) all earned sectional crowns.
Lowell had three champs in Drew Hughes (120), Mitch Roadruck (145) and Kenny Hughes (160). A trio of Hanover Central athletes won titles, too. Defending 106-pound state champion, Stevan Micic, won his second straight sectional crown — this time at 113 pounds. Micic’s teammates Tyler Scott (182) and Josh Bartoszek (285) also captured titles.
Scott’s title was his first after a pair of second-place finishes the last two years.
The junior came up with a takedown of CP’s Matt Langbehn in the final three seconds to claim a 4-3 decision and win for the 36th time in 38 matches.
“He was tying me up the whole match,” Scott said. “Time was running out, I knew I had to do something quick and good. I thought: ‘I have to figure out how to get a takedown, or lose the match.’ I opened up with about 30 seconds left and finally got my takedown.
“During the match, my coach (Nick Petrov) was going crazy. When I came off the mat, he told me: ‘You should have opened up earlier and taken your shots.’ It just feels really great to finally win.”
Lowell’s Kenny Hughes, another sectional runner-up the previous two years, took the 160-pound crown by pinning CP’s Dax Jones in 45 seconds.
“It’s nice to finally win a sectional,” said Hughes, who lost in the first round at state last year, but is now 34-0.
Kenny’s younger brother, Drew, only a freshman, also won by fall, sticking CP’s Brett Irvin in 38 seconds.
“Winning sectional has been one of my goals all year, so it feels really good,” he said. “I felt pretty strong today. I just went out and wrestled like I normally do. Every kid I wrestled today, I faced during the season, so there were no surprises. My main goal is to win state. I feel like that’s within reach.”
Crown Point 152-pounder Dustin Schurg’s goal is a state championship.
“I feel like it’s definitely attainable,” said the Bulldogs’ senior after pinning Kankakee Valley’s Beau Tauber in 1:04. “I came out here with the thought that nobody would stand in my way today.”
Schurg’s brother, Darden, won at 138 pounds, beating Valparaiso’s Mack Neal, 5-3.
“I think he could have done a lot better, but he won, and that’s the important thing,” Dustin said.
At 195, CP sophomore Morgan Kral (32-0) was down 1-0 to Lowell’s Ryan Patterson before using a takedown and getting three back points to win, 5-1. It was the second straight title for Kral — who won at 182 last year.
“I knew I needed to get out and get a takedown,” Kral said. “Then, I got him over my back. Then I got the three back points, and I knew I was good. It feels great to win the second year in a row, and now, it’s on to the regional. It’s only going to get tougher from here.”