Chesterton Tribune



Chesterton's Evan Bates wins IHSAA State Wrestling title at 220 lbs

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After coming close in 2019, this was all Chesterton junior Evan Bates could think about.

“It’s been on my mind the entire year,” he said. “It’s what I’ve been training for: this day. It’s finally real.”

Bates become a state champion on Saturday night, defeating Harrison’s William Crider 9-0 in the final round at 220 during the IHSAA State Finals on Saturday night from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

It was Bates’ second meeting with Crider in as many weeks, having also beaten Crider at last Saturday’s East Chicago Central Semistate. Both Bates and coach Chris Joll attributed that fact to Bates' steady, solid win, capping a 41-1 season.

Bates’ semifinal match was a much different story, though.

Facing North Montgomery’s Drew Webster, ranked No. 2 in the state at 220 by IndianaMat, the top-ranked Bates was put on his back by Webster, who nearly pinned Bates but scored near fall points to take a 5-4 lead late in the third period.

Joll said that Bates had been prepared for such occasions by assistant coach Keith Davison.

“He has to thank Davison because he always puts (Bates) on his back in the room and makes him fight out of it,” Joll said. “It’s hard to get off your back and then go score points with only 15 seconds left to do it.”

But that’s exactly what Bates did, rallying for a 6-5 win.

“I didn’t take the best of shots and he capitalized and put me on my back,” Bates said. “But I knew that, if I got off my back, I had better conditioning and I’d be able to come back.”

Joll said that sequence in the semifinal match was a perfect encapsulation of Bates’ mentality.

“That’s who he is as a competitor,” Joll said of Bates. “Whether he’s wrestling live or drilling or running 400s and 800s, he goes hard all the time.”

Bates was one of three Trojans who advanced beyond Friday’s opening round and into Saturday’s placement rounds. At 145, junior Brock Ellis lost his quarterfinal match Ñ his first defeat of the season Ñ but won the next two for a fifth-place finish at the end of a 49-1 season.

“It’s not as high up as I wanted to be, but you still have to finish the day off,” Ellis said. “I’ll be mad about it until next year and even after that. I’m coming for that top spot next year.”

Joll was also impressed by the way that Ellis responded to his loss.

“I couldn’t be prouder of him,” Joll said. “He hasn’t been 100 percent this week and hasn’t for a while. But he puts a lot of pressure on himself to succeed. I think he wrestled better in those last two matches than he had all year. Hopefully, he’ll take that into next season.”

Freshman Aidan Torres placed sixth at 126 at the end of his breakout 43-7 rookie season. Wrestling in the same building that hosts NBA games had Torres starstruck when he arrived on Friday.

“I was thinking that there are NBA stars walking down the same hallways as me,” Torres said. “That makes me feel pretty cool. It’s a lot different than watching from the stands.”

Torres became the first Chesterton freshman to place at the state finals since Anthony Quiroz was a runner-up in 2009.

“I’m pretty content but I definitely want to get back in the room,” Torres said. “The coaches already have stuff they want me to work on.”

Although this was Torres’ first appearance at the state meet as a competitor, Joll said that his prior experience at other large meets helped Torres thrive.

“He’s wrestled in meets just as big as this before,” Torres said. “He didn’t react like a typical freshman.”

The other five Trojans who qualified for the state finals had their seasons end during Friday’s first round.

Senior Doug Waters ended his career going 38-10 at 113, while classmate Nick Winland ended his high school career with a 30-9 season. Junior Ethan Kaiser finished 34-6 at 138, junior Gavin Layman finished 37-7 at 170 and sophomore Gage DeMarco ended with a 38-10 record at 195.


Posted 2/24/2020




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