Wrestling: Bulldogs show they still have bite
By John O’Malley Post-Tribune correspondent December 13, 2012 11:06PM
Crown Point's Austin Torres and Lake Central's Kameron Konopasek battle at 106 pounds at Crown Point High School Thursday evening. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 15, 2013 11:45AM
CROWN POINT — It seems the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Take Crown Point’s wrestling program, for example.
Despite losing four-time state champion, Jason Tsirtsis, and another state champ, in Tyler Kral, coach Scott Vlink’s Bulldogs (12-1, 3-0) are still one of the top teams in the state.
The Bulldogs used pins from Tyler Burlison (145); Morgan Kral (195); Austin Torres (106) and Josh Fuqua (126) on their way to a 42-20 Duneland Athletic Conference victory over Lake Central Thursday night. Kral is now 15-0, while Fuqua is also unbeaten in less matches.
Despite wrestling without regulars Brett Irvin (120); Riley Akers (106); Darden Schurg (138) and Quentin Klingberg (Hwt.), who were out for a variety of reasons, the Bulldogs still managed to look impressive.
“I never question our kids’ toughness, but I think we have to get a little bit technically better in some areas,’’ Vlink said. “We have some kids out who were a little under the weather and some others with some dings and dongs. The grind has set in. Good teams find a way to get through the grind. They embrace the grind. This was just one of those meets where you hope somehow your kids wrestle smart and wrestle tough.’’
Lake Central coach Rod Wartman had four of his regulars out of the lineup, too.
Indians 195-pounder, Isaac Popovich is out for the year with two broken bones in his back, while senior David Otano (106) is likely out for the season with an illness. Jake Sebahar (145) and Josh Vandas (126) are both still out with injuries.
“I think we showed a lot of fight tonight, but not a lot of wrestling ability,’’ Wartman said. “We gave up a lot of points — third period points killed us — but I thought for the most part, our kids wrestled well. Even though Tsirtsis is gone, and some others, Crown Point is still one of the better teams in the state. Believe me, nothing’s changed. Crown Point’s still a great program that’s really well-coached. When you’re going up against them, you’ve really got to be at your best and ready to wrestle.’’
The Indians (11-2, 1-2) had several wrestlers look impressive.
Kodie Christenson (152) and Jeff Brassea (170) took decisions, while Gelen Robinson (16-0) dominated in a 20-5 technical fall victory over CP’s Steven Potosky.
Heavyweight Nick Minkema pinned CP’s Seth Dee with only nine seconds left in their match, while Matt Lechowicz (120) improved to 16-0 with his 5-0 win over CP’s Brennan Chaussey.