Wrestling: Trio of NWI wrestlers win state titles
By LaMond Pope 648-3090 or email@example.com February 16, 2013 11:20PM
Merrillville's Bobby Steveson wrestles Carroll's Riley LeFever in the state finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Saturday, February 16, 2013.
Updated: February 20, 2013 4:16PM
INDIANAPOLIS — The breathing problems began after the first takedown.
Stevan Micic had been battling a cold. He also said he has sports-induced asthma.
It wasn’t the most opportune time to start gasping for air. The Hanover Central junior was competing for a state championship at 113 pounds.
“I was just tired,” Micic said. “But I kept pulling through.”
Micic fought through the breathing issues, and fought off Zachary Davis of Penn, 9-7, to capture his second consecutive state title.
Micic, Merrillville’s Bobby Steveson and Gelen Robinson of Lake Central completed undefeated seasons by winning titles at the IHSAA state championship Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Steveson beat Riley Lefever of Fort Wayne Carroll 5-4 in the 170-pound championship. He finished the year 39-0. Robinson had a 49-0 record after defeating Fletcher Miller of Kokomo 7-2 for the 220-pound title. Lowell’s Drew Hughes placed second at 120 pounds.
Last year, Micic won the 106-pound championship. This year’s rout included three victories by pins to reach the finals. There he met Davis. It was the third time this season the two had squared off. Micic won the first two by technical fall.
“Three times is hard when you keep wrestling people over and over,” Hanover Central coach Nick Petrov said. “Stevan kept his composure, did his job and won the match. He looked great.”
Micic finished the year 48-0.
“I just wanted to go out and wrestle,” Micic said. “And I was able to do that, but it’s hard without being able to breathe as well and you’re really tired. It’s hard to do the things you work on in practice all the time.
“… It wasn’t what I wanted, but I still got the job done.”
Steveson picked up two points in the final 30 seconds to pull ahead of Lefever 5-3. He then held on for the victory.
“Now that it’s over, I know it happened, but it doesn’t feel like it happened,” Steveson said. “Ever since I was younger, I always dreamed about this happening. Being younger, being up in the skybox watching everyone else win it. I wanted to be able to win it.”
Steveson won a match by technical fall and another by major decision on the way to making the finals.
“Everything has to be aligned. The planets. Even the asteroid I guess,” Merrillville coach David Maldonado said. “He’s well deserving of it. He’s one of the hardest working kids I’ve coached. He shows up every day. “
Robinson followed the same plan in each of his four victories.
“I was mainly focused on getting that first takedown,” said Robinson. “That’s the main key for me, getting the first takedown and setting the pace of the match. I think I did a good job of executing that plan.”
Robinson said he learned from last year, when he finished third at 220 pounds.
“I wasn’t going for pins this weekend. I know everyone down here is good,” he said. “I’m not going to get the pin every time. I was just making sure I stuck with my plan and did everything right. Stick to the little things in the match.”
Hughes beat Schuyler Phillips of Yorktown 2-0 to reach the final. He never led against Deondre Wilson of Warren Central, and fell 6-2.
“I got so close to some of my takedowns,” Hughes said. “I just couldn’t finish.”
“It was good,” Hughes said of his experience, “but it’s just going to make me work harder for next year.”