Wrestling: Freshmen Hughes, Torres, Streck, among those advancing at state finals
By Lamond Pope 648-3090 or firstname.lastname@example.org February 15, 2013 10:36PM
Lowell's Drew Hughes placed first in the 120 pound division during the Crown Point wrestling sectional on Saturday, January 26, 2013, in Crown Point. | Mark Smith~Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 17, 2013 6:48PM
INDIANAPOLIS — The state wrestling finals can be a bit overwhelming for a freshman.
There’s the gigantic scoreboard hanging over the competitors’ heads at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. There are the bright lights and the thousands of eyeballs focused squarely on the mat.
Those elements didn’t fazed Lowell’s Drew Hughes, Gaige Torres of Portage and Merrillville’s Shawn Streck.
The freshmen were among 12 area wrestlers to advance at the IHSAA wrestling state finals Friday.
“It’s big,” Hughes said of the atmosphere, “but you don’t really notice it that much when you wrestle.”
Hughes had a 15-0 technical fall win against Chase Wilson of Maconaquah at 120 pounds.
Hughes and Torres said competing at national tournaments in the past helped prepare them for the large stage. Torres won a national event in Iowa last year.
“I was kind of nervous coming in. But this isn’t the biggest tournament I’ve been to,” Torres said after a 5-3 win against Jacob Brown of Castle at 113 pounds. “I’m used to the crowd and everything. I just went out there, tried to block out the crowd and do what I do best.”
Streck beat Hayden Schmucker of Goshen 3-1 at 285 pounds.
Friday wasn’t all about the rookies.
Hanover Central’s Stevan Micic pinned Jasi Coureur of Hamilton Southeastern at 3:05 to win his first-round match at 113 pounds. Micic captured a state title at 106 pounds last year.
“It’s always good to get the first one out of the way,” said Micic, who improved to 45-0.
Merrillville’s Adam Garcia battled back from a 3-0 deficit to top Andrew Ledford 8-6 at 120 pounds.
“That’s just being experienced,” Garcia said. “It helped me a lot being down here for the third time. I had that advantage over the kid that was out there. I knew I had to fight back. And I knew I had it in me.”
Garcia’s teammate Bobby Steveson improved to 36-0 with a victory by technical fall (23-8) at 170 pounds. Mike Eldridge of LaPorte also moved on at 170.
Other first-round winners from the area were Josh Fuqua of Crown Point (126 pounds), Lowell’s Mitch Roadruck (145), Highland’s Mark Maldonado (160), Lake Central’s Gelen Robinson (220) and Josh Bartoszek of Hanover Central (285).
“I was just looking forward to getting (the first-round) match over,” said Robinson, who is 46-0. “Once you get this match out of the way you get to the next day, which is the main event.”
The two-day event concludes today. The quarterfinals start at 8:30 a.m. and the semifinals follow. The consolation matches begin at 4 p.m. with the championship round scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m.