Chesterton Tribune



Bates and Ellis earn medals at IHSAA State Wrestling Finals

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The waiting will be the hardest part.

After Chesterton sophomores Evan Bates and Brock Ellis secured top-four finishes at the state finals, both wrestlers talked about the future.

“This feels good,” Ellis said. “But I’m ready for next year.”

Ellis placed fourth at 152 pounds while Bates took third at 182, as each sophomore proved they belong among the state’s elite.

Bates, ranked fifth in the state by IndianaMat, made his state meet debut one week after knocking off the second and fourth-ranked wrestlers on his way to a semistate title. And that success had Bates believing he could enjoy similar success at the state finals.

“When I beat those guys, I showed -- myself, mostly -- that I could wrestle with anybody in the state,” Bates said. “I just needed to wrestle like I did last weekend and, hopefully, I’d get on the podium.”

Bates won his first match by fall and then scored a 9-3 decision over Oak Hill’s Bradley Rossman in the quarterfinal round. In the semifinal round, though, Bates ran into top-ranked and undefeated Carson Brewer from Avon, who stifled every offensive attempt from Bates in a 9-0 victory. Brewer went on to win the state title at 182, while Bates pinned Edgewood’s Levon Bellemy in the second period of their match to secure a third-place finish at state.

Bates said he wasn’t surprised by the result because of how hard the Trojans have been working at practice.

“I feel pretty good,” he said. “I was a little disappointed with how I lost. But I learned about never giving up and how to bounce back from a loss. I just have to keep working. There’s still a lot of time to get better.”

Ellis finished fourth at 152 pounds, a significantly better result than his freshman season, when Ellis was eliminated in the first round at the state finals.

“This is a lot better than being out on Friday night like last year,” he said. “It’s kind of bittersweet, though. It’s awesome to place fourth, but I set my goals higher. I lost to some good wrestlers. There’s no shame in losing to them, but it still sucks.”

Ellis hung on for a 6-5 decision against Huntington North junior Cody McCune on Friday night, then advanced to the semifinal round with a 6-4 overtime victory over Columbus East’s Jake Schoenegge.

Like Bates, though, Ellis ran into an eventual state champion in the semifinal round, losing 7-0 to Cathedral’s Elliott Rodgers. And Ellis’ draw in the third-place match was no easier, as he faced top-ranked Eli Dickens from powerhouse program Evansville Mater Dei. Dickens won that match 5-2, sending Ellis to a fourth-place finish.

“I just didn’t shoot as much as I needed to or wanted to,” Ellis said. “That’s something I need to focus on for next year: just shoot more.”

But Ellis said he’s always learned more from defeats.

“It’s hard to tell someone to do something if they’re winning all the time,” Ellis said. “Why would they change?”

One thing that neither Ellis nor Bates needs to change is the way they’ve carried themselves on and off the mats, according to coach Chris Joll.

“They don’t work like sophomores, they don’t act like sophomores and they don’t wrestle like sophomores,” Joll said. “They’re just wrestlers. They’re role models for the younger kids. They’re good representatives of the school. They wrestle the way they practice, and they practice that way because they have a work ethic that comes from their families.”

“When you combine that with athletic ability,” Joll said, “it’s hard for a kid like that to fail.”


Posted 2/18/2019




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