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Wrestling: Lowell’s Mitch Roadruck chasing lifelong dream

Lowell's Mitch Roadruck during Traicoff Wrestling Invite Saturday December 8 2012. | Mark Smith~Sun-Times Media

Lowell's Mitch Roadruck during the Traicoff Wrestling Invite on Saturday, December 8, 2012. | Mark Smith~Sun-Times Media

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When he was only 5 years old, Mitch Roadruck and his dad, Bud, attended the IHSAA state wrestling finals together.

He saw Lowell wrestlers Bobby Howard — who later became his coach — and Marcus Schontube capture state titles to wrap up the 1999-2000 season.

“When two Lowell kids won state, that really sparked my interest in the sport,’’ said Roadruck, who seeks a second straight regional title at the Crown Point on Saturday.

“When I saw them win state, I knew that’s what I had to work for — to get down there and be like Bobby and Marcus and get my hand raised like that. It’s what I’ve worked so hard for, for a long time.’’

Once Roadruck experienced the atmosphere at state, he became infatuated with wrestling, and fell for it hook, line and sinker.

“Even though I was young, I got to see how awesome the state finals really were and how great the sport really was,’’ he said. “I kind of fell in love with it that day. I knew right then, and there, that’s what I was going to dedicate my life to.’’

Roadruck started wrestling when he was 3 years old. By the age of 4, he was competing and working toward becoming the type of wrestler he is today.

“Lowell had one of the biggest programs in the state when I first started out,’’ said Roadruck, who competed for the Lowell and Razorback Wrestling Clubs, CIA Wrestling and then moved to Regional Wrestling Academy.

Roadruck spent summers traveling on the USA Wrestling circuit, where his father helped coach him.

“He’s always been in my corner,’’ he said. “My dad was always really big into wrestling. That’s where I get my love for the sport — from him. He supports me 110 percent. I would never be where I am today without him.’’

While Roadruck has always had loads of support, his coach believes his strong work ethic and passion for the sport are two things that have carried him.

“He’s made wrestling his life for the last four years,’’ Howard said.

“He wrestles at (Region Wrestling Academy) in the offseason. This guy wrestles all the time. He’s always trying to get better and better, and he has.’’

The Red Devils standout, who won a regional title last year at 138 pounds, beating Chesterton’s Joe Kelly, is competing in the 145-pound class this season. He’s won 31 of 34 matches.

“Mitch has his own style, it’s hard for people to wrestle him,’’ Howard said. “The way he wrestles, and the kind of style he has, he could beat anybody. It might come as a shock to some people to see him make a run at state this year, but it wouldn’t shock me. I think the way he wrestles, he could beat anybody. I don’t necessarily think he’s the best kid in the state at his weight, but because of his style, I wouldn’t bet against him. On any given day, with the way he wrestles, special things could happen for him.’’

Roadruck’s style is unique.

He’s good on his feet, but the senior’s scrambling ability is what sets him apart.

“If he gets into a scramble, nine out of 10 times, he’s going to come out of it on top,’’ Howard said. “There are times he gets into situations that make me nervous, but because he’s a very good scrambler, he’s really not ever out of a match. He has so much heart.

He wrestles for six minutes every time out. You just can’t ever count him out of any match. I think that’s what defines him.’’

If Roadruck is to claim a second straight regional crown, he’ll have to find a way to beat Chesterton senior Chris Katsafaros, who gives tough a whole new meaning.

Katsafaros (34-1) won his fourth straight sectional title at LaPorte last week and has state meet dreams of his own.

“If we wrestle, it will be in the final,’’ Roadruck said. “There’s been a lot of hype. Those are my favorite type of matches. Everybody’s anticipating and watching, and I love that. It’s a chance for you to see if your hard work has paid off. I think it will be a good match, a tough match. I’m looking forward to it.’’



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