Don't call it an
Rankings don't mean
a great deal, OK, they don't mean much of anything to Chris Joll.
So, when the
Chesterton wrestling coach talked about Evan Bates' impressive run to the
title in the 182-pound weight class in Saturday's East Chicago Central
Semistate, it wasn't with any tone of surprise.
"I don't know the
rankings," Joll said. "All I know is we beat a pretty good junior and a
freshman phenom. We're happy with Evan's performance, but there's not a
person in the room or on the coaching staff who would tell you it was not
expected. He's that good. He's always been a smart wrestler. It's really
hard to beat a good guy twice."
sophomore's imposing gauntlet started in the ticket round, where he had to
face No. 2 Jacob Laplace of Mishawaka, who came in as a three seed after
suffering his first loss in the regional final to No. 4-ranked Culver
Academies freshman Andrew Donahue. Bates prevailed 3-2 to earn his state
"He beat me at
(the) Al Smith (Mishawaka tournament) in a close match, a couple points,"
Bates said. "I worked on conditioning. I made some minor tweaks, fixed a few
things. I made pretty stupid moves the last time that cost me a reversal. I
didn't make any mistakes."
After an injury
default in the first minute of his semifinal match with Noah Brown of Penn,
Bates (45-2) came from behind to outlast Donahue 5-4.
"It feels amazing,"
Bates said. "I just knew I had two more tough kids to wrestle (after Laplace).
I wasn't expected to beat him, but I knew if I wrestled like I could, I
could win. I just had to do that. I came in with the right mindset. I had a
really good week of practice. I worked on a couple things on top."
Brock Ellis (37-2)
didn't have nearly the drama of his teammate in blazing his way to the 152
lb. championship. He recorded three falls before blanking Wheeler's Isaiah
Mohmed 6-0 in the finals.
"I wanted to tech
or pin my way through the finals," Ellis said. "It was a rematch from the
Regional and I doubled the score. I just keep shooting more shots, racking
up more points. It's hard to score if you're on defense all the time. That's
what I lacked last year."
As with Bates, the
results were no surprise to Joll.
like he practices, with purpose, with focus, as hard as he can," Joll said.
"I don't think it's a coincidence that his practice attitude and his
competitive attitude are the same. He has a really good set of parents who
set really good goals for him. It's hard to lose when you have kids with
good backgrounds who work hard."
10 wrestlers to semistate, but some tough draws and close losses conspired
against the Trojans, who didn't qualify anyone else for state. Chris Merrill
(113), Danny Tolin (120), Ethan Kaiser (132), Nick Winland (145) and Gavin
Layman (160) all lost in the quarterfinals. Merrill, Kaiser, Winland and
Layman all lost to eventual champions.
"I thought we could
honestly get as few as one and as many as seven, and three was not
unrealistic," Joll said. "It's hard at this level."
The focus now turns
to state for Ellis, who lost in the first round last year, and Bates, who
"The end game is a
state championship," Ellis said. "Last year, my goal was just to be a
qualifier. Once I was there, I was happy and I plateaued. I'm still hungry.
I don't want to just qualify. I want to win. That's the ultimate goal and I
don't set un-achievable goals. It's a realistic goal."
teammates like Heaveyweight Eli Pokorney, who was unable to defend his state
title due to injury, for providing direction.
"It's great to have
teammates to help me see that goal," said Ellis, who lost both of his
matches on the same day at the Al Smith tourney. "Eli and I had a nice talk.
There's no reason I can't make the finals. I like having the target on my
back. I like being under the lights, the big matches. I want guys to come at
me, to try to beat me. I want to beat the best and to be the best, you've
got to wrestle the best."
Bates watched last
year's tournament from the stands, so he'll have to combat that
"I haven't done it
before, so it's really hard to tell. I don't think it'll be too big of a
deal," he said. "I just have to wrestle with the same mentality, fine tune a
couple more things."
are Friday night with the remaining wrestling Saturday at Bankers Life
"We'll just worry
about one match at a time," Joll said. "We know all these guys will be hard
to wrestle, where they're ranked. We'll have a really good week of practice.
It'll be nice to have Friday off (school) anyway. I'm sure the boys will
represent Chesterton as best they can. They both have natural talent. Their
athletic ability is at a different level. That's why they're easy to coach."
AT EAST CHICAGO
1. Crown Point 87,
2. Portage 811, 3. Merrillville 711, 4. Culver Academies 671, 5. Wawasee 55,
6. Mishawaka 45, 7.Penn 44, 8. Chesterton 42, 9. Harrison (West Lafayette)
25, 10. (tie) Calumet and Wheeler 24, 12. Attica 23, 13. Plymouth 21, 14.
LaVille 20, 15. Hammond Morton 16, 16. LaPorte 13, 17. (tie) Hebron and West
Lafayette 11, 19. Valparaiso 10, 20. (tie) Griffith and Lowell 9.
106: Brennen Cernus
(CA) d. Malik Hall (Mer), 7-3. 113: Jacob Moran (Por) d. Martin Cruz (Mer),
13-3. 120: Riley Bettich (CP) d. William Finnearty (CA), 3-0. 126: Jesse
Mendez (CP) p. Brendon Mark (Mish), 1:29. 132: Geremia Brooks (Waw) d. Reese
Rodriguez (HM), 12-6. 138: Braxton Alexander (Waw) p. AJ Poindexter (Harr),
1:39. 145: Jorden Douglass (Att) d. Jacob Maldonado (Merr), 9-1. 152: Brock
Ellis (Ch) d. Isaiah Mohmed (Wh), 6-0. 160: DJ Washington (Por) d. Braden
Welch (CA), 17-4. 170: Graham Calhoun (Ply) d.Ê Joseph Walker (Mish), 5-4.
182: Evan Bates (Ch) d. Andrew Donahue (CA), 5-4. 195: Rockne Hurley (Penn)
d. Ethan Potosky (CP), 5-3. 220: AJ Fowler (Cal) p. Drew Bailey (Merr),
1:02. 285: Alex Cartwright (LaV) d. Yehezquel Devault (Penn), 11-6.
Roberson (CP) d. Dominic Skees (Lafayette Central Catholic), 8-0. 113:
Giovanni Diaz (Whe) d. Jake Armstrong (Winamac), 11-0. 120: Jace Alexander (Waw)
p. Ty Haskins (Por), 2:05. 126: Brock Peele (Por) d. Evan Burge
(McCutcheon), 7-1. 132: Ricky Hegedus (Por) d. Elijah Hickman (Rensselaer),
7-3. 138: Gabriel Weeks (Mish) d. Cameron Worley (LJ), 11-6. 145: Jake
Burford (CP) d. Jeffrey Harper (Penn), 7-6. 152: Cole Cervantes (Grif) d.
Noah Hollendonner (CP), 10-6. 160: Abel Verbeek (Low) d. Jaymiere Johnson
(Hammond Gavit), 7-3. 170: Colin Kwiatkowski (Valparaiso) d. Jason Streck (Merr),
14-2. 182: Noah Perez (LP) inj. def. Noah Brown (Penn). 195: Evan Donovan
(Heb) p. Grant Johnson (New Prairie), 0:40. 220: Joey Kidwell (WL) d. Damari
Dancy (Por), 3-2. 285: Will Crider (Harr) d. Anthony Atria (Merr), 6-4.