Wrestling: Crown Point cruises to 12th straight title, sends 12 to regionals
By JOHN O’MALLEY Post-Tribune correspondent February 1, 2014 11:12PM
Crown Pointâs Zach Donaldson tries to slam Lowellâs Jacob Gross in the 132 Pound Championship Match at the Crown Point Sectional Saturday afternoon. |Dan Shelton/Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 3, 2014 6:00PM
CROWN POINT — There’s a slogan which claims every dog has its day.
Most of Crown Point’s Bulldogs and head coach Scott Vlink would likely agree after the hosts captured their 12th straight sectional title Saturday.
It was indeed a “dog day afternoon” for this pack of Dogs who watched six wrestlers earn individual crowns, including a trio of Schurgs — Daylan (120); Denton (145) and Darden (152).
Bulldogs Zach Donaldson (132) and Steve Potosky (220) also won titles as did Josh Fuqua (138), who upset previously unbeaten Drew Hughes of Lowell, 4-2.
Hanover Central Stevan Micic, a two-time defending state champ, won his third straight sectional crown — this time at 126 — while teammate Tyler Scott, another defending sectional champ, knocked off previously unbeaten Morgan Kral of CP (5-3) to win at 195.
Crown Point scored 263 points to easily outdistance second-place Valparaiso (194.5); Lowell (187) and Hanover Central (185.5) and qualified 12 wrestlers for the Feb. 8 CP Regional.
“I thought we wrestled awfully well today, particularly in the morning rounds,’’ Vlink said. “We got a lot of bonus points in the early rounds. We did really well. I think we had around 10 falls in the early rounds. The finals are about winning matches and getting good matchups for next week.
“We thought this was going to be tight. We were concerned. We had tight matches with Lowell and Hanover during the season and we know Valparaiso is tough. We knew all those teams were well-coached and would really be well-prepared today. Our kids really stepped up — they really did. They did a real good job.’’
Three Lowell athletes won titles, including freshman Colton Cummings (106), who pinned CP’s Johnathan Moran; Kenny Hughes (160), who pinned CP’s Dax Jones; along with Isaac James (170), who took a 3-0 decision from the Bulldogs’ Jace Quezada.
Kankakee Valley’s Tim Schoonveld won the 182-pound title by tech fall (16-1) over Lowell’s John Bigbie.
“This feels great — I’ve been trying to achieve this every year since I started wrestling,’’ Schoonveld said. “Before now, I didn’t win really big matches, so it feels like I’m breaking through a wall winning this my senior year — but I want more.’’
Valparaiso took second place after Ian Suttles won the 285-pound title (7-0) over Lowell’s Joe Reed.
“I think we came in and exceeded what anyone expected us to do,’’ Vikings coach Mark Line said. “We weren’t real happy with our performance in the first round today. I thought we were running a little bit slow, so I told them to pick up the pace, and they did. I think anytime you can come in here and place first or second, you’re happy. We’re proud of the kids and how hard they worked.’’
They Vikings saw Austin Line (113) win a sectional title and qualified 11 for next week’s regional.
Hanover Central’s Micic remained unbeaten, beating CP’s Riley Akers by major decision (18-6).
“Getting a pin didn’t matter,’’ he said. “Riley’s a tough kid. I’ve wrestled him before (two tech falls this year).’’
Micic is ranked No. 1 in the state and is either No. 1 or No. 2 in the nation in his weight class, according to Intermat.com and Flo.com.
“It doesn’t matter what it says on them, I still have to go out and do it,’’ Micic said.
Crown Point’s Fuqua overcame an injury that required surgery as well as sinus and respiratory infections. He missed a good deal of the season, and was happy to knock off Hughes — his offseason training partner for the past couple years.
“I felt really confident going into the match,’’ he said. “I had nothing to lose. He was ranked No. 1 and undefeated, and I was, whatever. A lot of people thought I fell off, but I’m still here.’’
Fuqua’s teammate, Donaldson, who beat Lowell’s Jacob Gross, won a sectional in his first year as a varsity wrestler.
“I don’t think anybody expected me to do this well,’’ the junior said. “Going this far? Yeah, It surprises me, but it feels great. The key was just staying at it throughout and not giving up.’’
Lowell’s James was thrilled about his title at 170.
“I expected it to be a close match, but I used my quickness to my advantage,’’ he said. “My coach wanted me to go out and control the match and I felt like I did. I did what I do best — be in control and be physical. When you do that, it makes winning that much easier.’’