By JIM PETERS
contenders on both sides of his weight class, Gage DeMarco has been somewhat
lost in the glare cast by Chesterton's Brock Ellis and Evan Bates.
"I hadn't really
kept track, but then I heard he's like 36-7," Trojans coach Chris Joll said.
"Yeah, he's pretty good. He just gets better every single time he goes out
there. We were very excited with Gage's performance in the finals."
continued his impressive if not slightly inconspicuous post-season march at
Saturday's Crown Point Regional, handling Crown Point's Matt McElroy 10-2 of
the 195-pound final.
"My goal was just
to hopefully see McElroy in the finals and do better than the last time,"
said DeMarco, who was the second seed despite being a 7-1 winner over
McElroy in a previous match. "I was expecting to win since I beat him
before, but I changed my style so I could use more offense, attack, get more
If the uncertain
seeding wasn't enough incentive for DeMarco, the simple opportunity to
wrestle in the regional was. DeMarco broke both bones in his right forearm
in a 170-pound Sectional semifinal match last season when Valpo's Colin
Kwiatkowski rolled over his arm as he had his hand planted on the mat. He
was in a cast for five months and had no wrestling activity for eight
"I've been looking
forward to this day since the day after I broke my arm." DeMarco said.
Ellis (145) and
Bates (220) took their next step in their trek to Indianapolis with titles
in their respective classes.
"I've got to get
ready for Semistate now, get a good draw for state," Ellis said. "That's the
ultimate goal, the top of the podium, not just next week, but two weeks. I
had some background things I was worried about. It's not really an excuse to
not score points. Everybody's got stuff going on. Everyone's got to battle
through it. I didn't do a great job of that."
The 42-0 Ellis
still churned out a 7-2 decision over Orlando Cruz in his fourth meeting
with the Crown Point freshman.
"I just didn't get
to my offense as much as I should have," Ellis said. "I got to my first shot
and finished. I should've kept shooting the whole match. I think I just hung
out. I think, once I get to my shot, I can finish most of the time. I don't
want to compromise anything, but I should've pushed it more, working more on
top, putting more points on the board. It matters for the team score. He
definitely had a different style. He stayed a lot more in space, not letting
me get to my ties as much. I should've worked through it, used more fakes. I
wasn't moving my feet very well. When he got in his shot, I wish I used my
hips more, stretch him out and get that takedown.”
Bates (33-1) spent
all of 1:50 on the mat in three matches, pinning Lake Central's Eddie Alonso
in 52 seconds in the final.
"It's just another
step to state, just go out there and wrestle," Bates said. "Obviously, every
match, I didn't look over anyone. My finals match, I was getting to my
attacks, even though it wasn't very long. The season's going by fast. It was
already Semistate. This weekend, we were trying to get the team title. Our
group of guys, especially our class, the camaraderie, rooting on your
teammates, seeing them be successful, it really makes it more enjoyable."
runner-up finishes at 126 (Aidan Torres), 152 (Cade Johnson), 160 (Nick
Winland), 170 (Gavin Layman) and 182 (Shae Jackson). Torres, Johnson,
Winland and Layman all lost by decision.
"It was a pretty
good day," Joll said. "You always like to win, but I think for what we came
in with, in the situations we had, we got out what we expected to get out.
We would've liked to had one or two more champs, but as long as we're
progressing to the next level, getting another week to prepare, that's what
we're happy about.”
Layman fell for the
third time in four weeks to La Porte's Matt Neff, this time, 3-2.
"It's fun every
Saturday," Neff said. "It was a good match as usual. I knew it was going to
be another close match. Oh, can I get an easy finals round? I never go in
thinking I'm going to win. I know I have to wrestle my best if I'm going to
come out with a win. If I was in his position, I would be frustrated. I keep
working and working and losing to the same guy. It just gets us both
qualifiers for Chesterton were Doug Walters (third, 113), Ethan Contreras
(third, 132) and Ethan Kaiser (138). Kaiser lost in overtime in the
"We had some really
good performances even in some of our losses even though we came out on
short end of the stick," Joll said. "Luke Stento (106) had an incredible
task and almost came out on top. We should've started our attack a little
sooner than we did. We're very proud of him, the work he's put in this year.
He stepped in in a couple of good meets."
second in the team standings behind the Bulldogs, 195.5-187.
"Evan and Brock,
we're just trying to get through with less wear and tear as possible to
state so they can be at peak performance," Joll said. "We're clicking on all
cylinders, looking forward getting back in the room and having a good
weekend next weekend."
AT CROWN POINT
1. Crown Point
195.5, 2. Chesterton 187, 3. Lake Central 96, 4. LaPorte 73.5, 5. Lowell
62.5, 6. Valparaiso 56, 7. Kankakee Valley 33, 8. New Prairie 28, 9. Wheeler
26, 10. Hanover Central 11. (tie) Boone Grove, Hebron, Knox and North Judson
8, 15. Michigan City 7, 16. John Glenn 0.
106 -- Sam Goin
(Crown Point, 30-1) dec. Johnny Cortez (Lake Central, 29-9), 10-0. 113 --
Logan Frazier (Crown Point, 31-2) dec. Nam Doan (Lake Central, 19-6), 14-5.
120 -- Giovanni Diaz (Wheeler, 35-1) dec. Riley Bettich (Crown Point, 21-3),
4-2. 126 -- Stephen Roberson (Crown Point, 31-2) dec. Aidan Torres
(Chesterton, 38-4), 8-3. 132 -- Jesse Mendez (Crown Point, 32-1) pin Isaiah
Ponce (Lake Central, 28-10), 0:50. 138 -- Tyson Nisley (LaPorte, 40-4) dec.
Nick Tattini (Crown Point, 26-8), 11-1. 145 -- Brock Ellis (Chesterton,
42-0) dec. Orlando Cruz (Crown Point, 28-5), 7-2. 152 -- Shawn Hollis
(Lowell, 31-3) dec. Cade Johnson (Chesterton, 39-6), 14-8. 160 -- Noah
Hollendonner (Crown Point, 33-4) dec. Nick Winland (Chesterton, 28-6), 12-5.
170 -- Matt Neff (LaPorte, 39-4) dec. Gavin Layman (Chesterton, 34-5), 3-2.
182 -- Colin Kwiatkowski (Valparaiso, 38-1) pin Shae Jackson (Chesterton,
28-10), 2:48. 195 -- Gage DeMarco (Chesterton, 36-7) dec. Matt McElroy
(Crown Point, 15-11), 10-2. 220 -- Evan Bates (Chesterton, 33-1) pin Eddie
Alonso (Lake Central, 24-13), 0:52. 285 -- Hunter Whitenack (New Prairie,
42-3) dec. Bryer Stoner (Lowell, 25-8), 5-1.
Third Place Matches
106 -- Ashton
Jackson (LaPorte, 37-8) pin Jimmy Snow (Lowell, 22-13), 3:50. 113 -- Doug
Waters (Chesterton, 38-8) pin Stefan Vitello (Valparaiso, 33-11), 1:45. 120
-- Cole Solomey (Kankakee Valley, 36-4) pin Sebastian Cortez (Lake Central,
21-15), 4:11. 126 -- Josh Daniels (Lake Central, 22-12) pin Matt Adamczyk
(Hebron, 36-10), 1:30. 132 -- Ethan Contreras (Chesterton, 27-14) pin Nick
Durall (Wheeler, 27-17), :23. 138 -- Ethan Kaiser (Chesterton, 32-6) dec.
Jak Krouse (Valparaiso, 35-12), 6-0. 145 -- Tyler Tillema (Kankakee Valley,
33-11) dec. Zane Rayson (Boone Grove, 18-11), 4-3. 152 -- Aidan Pollitt
(Valparaiso, 37-10) dec. Jerome Tra Anderson (LaPorte, 27-14), 11-4. 160 --
Ryan Breedlove (Hanover Central, 35-5) dec. Kamare Dunlap (Michigan City,
24-12), 10-6. 170 -- Aiden Sneed (Kankakee Valley, 38-5) dec. Abel Verbeek
(Lowell, 21-10), 5-1. 182 -- Jaden Browder (LaPorte, 36-9) pin Hunter
Rohweder (Lowell, 22-8), 2:02. 195 -- Michael DeGrado (Lake Central, 28-17)
pin Gavin Alonso (North Judson, 22-15), :46. 220 -- Jake Woods (Crown Point,
19-12) dec. Joshua Brewer (New Prairie, 31-15), 13-4. 285 -- Zack Velazquez
(Valparaiso, 25-14) pin Cody Winkler (Knox, 17-13), 2:22.