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Maldonado nets 4th-place finish

Lake Central's Gelen Robins(right) wrestles Kokomo's Fletcher Miller state finals Bankers Life Fieldhouse Saturday February 16 2013.

Lake Central's Gelen Robinson (right) wrestles Kokomo's Fletcher Miller in the state finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Saturday, February 16, 2013.

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INDIANAPOLIS — Mark Maldonado wanted to get comfortable before his first appearance at the state meet. So the Highland senior entered the arena before any fans arrived Friday.

He looked at all the empty seats at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and then told himself “it’s just another match.”

The approach helped Maldonado to a fourth-place finish at 160 pounds at the IHSAA state meet Saturday.

“I just walked around, got my heart rate down,” Maldonado said. “I wanted to stay loose and focus at the same time. I didn’t want to stress myself. I think I did fine.”

Maldonado beat Ben Krege 8-5 in the first round on Friday. He then topped Johnathan Tredway of Elkhart Central 5-3 in overtime Saturday morning.

Maldonado just missed a trip to the championship, falling to Riley McClurg 5-4 in the semifinal. Maldonado was pinned by Yorktown’s Rhett Hiestand in the third-place match.

“Even though I went out and got pinned for the first time in the last couple of years, I still wrestled my heart out,” he said. “The semifinal, I lost in the last minute. I’m really glad of my season, how much I was able to accomplish.

“We haven’t had a placer in nine years. It’s bringing back the hopes in our community and a lot of people now want to wrestle for Highland.”

Part of the parade: Lowell’s Mitch Roadruck said he’s been coming to the state meet since he was 5. One of his favorite parts has always been the parade of champions, in which all the state qualifiers march in front of the crowd before the start of the event.

Roadruck got to experience the parade in a different vantage point this year, as he qualified for the state meet for the first time.

“Just being in it was pretty cool,” the senior said after placing seventh at 145 pounds. “All those guys I ever looked up to, I’m one of them. Just thinking that someone like me is in the stands right now.”

Roadruck won his final high school match, beating Robbie Elsea of New Palestine 7-1.

“It feels great to go out with a win,” Roadruck said.

Area represented well: Six other area wrestlers competed in the consolation round of the event.

Merrillville’s Adam Garcia placed fifth at 120 pounds. Crown Point’s Josh Fuqua (126 pounds), Mike Eldridge of LaPorte (170) and Hanover Central’s Josh Bartoszek (285) each finished sixth in their respective weight classes. Gaige Torres of Portage (113) and Merrillville’s Shawn Streck (285) finished seventh.

Team results: Perry Meridian placed first in the team standings with 102.5 points.

Among area schools, Merrillville had the best showing with 31 points to place ninth.



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