Chesterton Tribune



Bates and Ellis win Semistate Wrestling titles for CHS

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Don't call it an upset.

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."

The 5th-ranked 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 finals berth.

"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.

"Brock wrestles 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."

Chesterton brought 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 didn't qualify.

"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."

Ellis credits 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 inexperience.

"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."

First-round matches are Friday night with the remaining wrestling Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

"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."

IHSAA Semistate


Team Results

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.

Individual Results


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. 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.


106: Stephen 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.



Posted 2/11/2019




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