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Wrestling: Crown Point gets some redemption against Merrillville in bid for DAC title

Portage Freshman Gaige Torres back takes down Lake Central sophomore Branden Truver during DunelConference wrestling tournament Saturday January 12 2013

Portage Freshman Gaige Torres, back, takes down Lake Central sophomore Branden Truver during the Duneland Conference wrestling tournament Saturday, January 12, 2013, in Crown Point, Ind. Torres defeated Truver. | Scott M. Bort~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: February 14, 2013 7:01AM



CROWN POINT — After losing to Merrillville by a criteria point in its Duneland Athletic Conference meet 10 days earlier, Crown Point coach Scott Vlink and his assistant coaches were perplexed.

They realized the Pirates have a very good program with good coaches and a strong group of wrestlers.

“We were pretty down around here that night,’’ Vlink said. “We thought how could we not have gotten one more point, somehow? If only we could have stayed off our backs. We looked at the whole situation and thought, ‘Maybe we should blow this whole thing up and start over again.’’

Considering all the success the Bulldogs have had the past six or seven seasons, there was definitely no need of that.

Saturday, Vlink’s team won the DAC meet with 245 points, while the Pirates were second (218.5) and Portage (205.5) third.

The Bulldogs still need to win their match at Valparaiso on Wednesday night to assure themselves of the DAC title, while a Valparaiso win would give Merrillville the crown.

“This is just the beginning, and certainly not the end, but we’re very happy with our performance today,’’ Vlink said. “We still have to beat Valpo and it’s not like they’re chopped liver.

“I know it’s ours to win, but we’re going to have to bring our ‘A’ game. We will come in here Monday morning, and again, after school, and work. We’ll put our kids’ noses to the grindstone. These kids won’t take Valpo lightly. I guarantee you these kids won’t be fat, happy and sassy cats.’’

Josh Fuqua (126); Darden Schurg (138); Dustin Schurg (152) and Morgan Kral (195) all won titles for CP, which saw five wrestlers finish second and three others third.

Fuqua edged Valparaiso’s Max Buckley, 1-0, in a nailbiter.

“It was a little tighter than I expected,’’ he said. “I wasn’t really getting my setups and my shots right. He’s more of a defensive wrestler — that’s just his style.’’

Fuqua said he and Buckley have been partners since the seventh grade at the Region Wrestling Academy.

“We know each other quite well,’’ said Fuqua, now 22-0. “It feels great to win. I also won as a freshman, but not last year.’’

Dustin Schurg used a different approach than last week at the CP Super Duals when he beat Portage’s Danny Roach.

“Today, I wanted to break him early and then finish him off,’’ said Schurg, who won his first DAC crown with a pin in 3:57.

“I felt I was building my lead in the second period. I got (another) takedown near the end. He was just lying there. I didn’t feel him fighting anymore, so I grabbed his elbow and locked up the cradle.’’

Kral, who improved to 26-0, won his first DAC title, sticking Chesterton’s Joe Ponda in 1:14.

“It feels great to win,’’ Kral said. “I feel really good about getting three pins in three matches. Staying undefeated is a key point for me. I did what I needed to do today to win this year after losing and coming in second last year.’’

Merrillville captured five crowns as Michael Garza (106); Adam Garcia (120); Matt Hollins (160); Bobby Steveson (170) and freshman Shawn Streck (285) all won titles.

“I felt a lot faster today,’’ said Steveson (27-0) who dominated LaPorte’s Mike Eldridge and won by tech fall, 19-3.

“I got pumped up listening to rap music — no mellow stuff. I wrestle a lot better when my feet are moving back and forth and side to side.’’

Portage freshman Gaige Torres (113); senior Julian Torres (132) and Exvonte Jones (182) all won titles as did Chesterton’s Chris Katsafaros (145) and Lake Central’s Gelen Robinson (220).

“They key for me is to just stay focused,’’ Robinson said. “That way, once you get a good situation, you can end things quickly.’’

Robinson certainly did that, pinning LaPorte’s Ben Standifer in 27 seconds.



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