Wrestling: Merrillville sends 12 to semistate
By Kevin O’Keefe Post-Tribune correspondent February 2, 2013 11:24PM
Updated: March 4, 2013 6:56AM
GARY — Merrillville advanced 12 wrestlers to next week’s semistate, including seven who were awarded the team trophy after outdistancing Duneland foe Portage 254.5-187 on Saturday at Calumet.
Portage and Lake Central each advanced 10 wrestlers to semistate.
Michael Garza defended his regional title at 106 pounds, as did Adam Garcia at 120 for the Pirates.
Also claiming regional titles for the Pirates were Jacob Covaciu (132), Isaac Rentas (138), Alex Jara (195) and Shawn Streck (285).
Merrillville sophomore Bobby Steveson also defended his title at 170 and stayed undefeated with a 10-3 decision over Hobart’s Scottie Sopko.
“I wrestled him (Sopko) a couple of times last year,” Steveson said. “Today didn’t go exactly as I expected. I try to dominate everyone I face, I either try to tech them or pin them.”
Portage freshman Gaige Torres had a 7-5 decision over Morton’s Rickie Rodriguez to win at 113 pounds.
“I knew going in that it was going to be close. I studied film on him from last weekend and I wanted to make him adjust to my shots.”
Also winning regional titles for the Indians were Stephon Wilkins at 145, Danny Roach at 152 and Dylan Logsdon pinned Merrillville’s Michael Martin to win the 126-pound title.
“It feels great, but I’ve got a lot to work on before next week’s semi-state,” said Logsdon.
Highland senior Mark Maldonado had a 3-2 overtime decision over Bishop Noll’s Damien Gomez to win at 160 pounds.
“This feels great, I lost here in four overtimes last year and got knocked out my freshman and sophomore year,” said Maldonado. “He was blocking every shot that I tried to take. This is a great feeling but I know I have to be in better shape next week for semistate.”
Lake Central junior Gelen Robinson had an impressive day defending his 220-pound title with two falls in the preliminary rounds and a 23-8 technical fall over River Forest’s Roberto Yanez in the championship.
“You can’t come in here and underestimate anyone,” said Robinson. “You never know, if you look past anyone you might get caught.
Hobart senior Tony Rodriguez had a hard-fought 2-1 decision over Portage’s Exvonte Jones to win at 182 pounds.
“I knew coming in he was going to be tough,” said Rodriguez. “It feels good to get the regional title back that I lost last year.”