necessarily the formula Cade Johnson would recommend for winning a wrestling
match, but on this day, in this instance, the Chesterton junior 152-pounder
made it work.
"I don't want to
really rely on that too much, but when it comes down to who's the better
man, you're going to have to," Johnson said after a frantic third-period
comeback that saw him overcome a 12-7 deficit to down Lake Central's
Cristian Ponce 18-15 in the championship match at Saturday's Duneland
Athletic Conference tournament.
The final score was
listed as 15-14, but the points were coming so fast, the scoreboard operator
couldn't keep pace, so all that Johnson knew for sure was that he won. He
took down and let up Ponce three times to pull within two before following a
fourth takedown with a near fall that proved to be the winning margin.
"We've been doing a
lot of conditioning," Johnson said. "I just kept pushing the pace. I felt
him start breaking under me, so I knew it was right there. You just have to
have a whole lot of confidence. We're both tired, but I've had better
conditioning, so you just got to go with it."
Johnson in the Hobart Super Duals and seemed on his way to another decisive
victory before Johnson got it rolling.
"I was flat-footed,
so it was easy for him to take me down," Johnson said. "I wasn't thinking
that much either, so I was making kind of stupid choices. I wanted it."
claimed titles with Ethan Kaiser (138), Brock Ellis (145) and Evan Bates
(220) joining Johnson atop the podium.
"They all got a
taste of what making a team contribution to a meet like this is," Chesterton
coach Chris Joll said.
finished a close second to champion Crown Point, 212.5-203, close enough to
make Joll wonder just a bit what might have been.
"Our goal was not
to win this," he said. "If we were third here, if we were first here, we
were still going to be second (overall) in the DAC. We did not take a break
this week. We trained right through this. I could see it in some of our
younger kids, they were just a little tired. I'm thinking maybe if our
60-pounder (Tyler Martin) had a little more of a break, he'd have gotten
fourth instead of fifth and our 20-pounder (Luke Stento) would've placed
instead of losing his first two matches. But the boys know what the goal is
-- to support each other and get as many of them to State as possible. I saw
them walking in the door and realizing we could do it."
started in a deficit situation, giving up a takedown to Merrillville's
Anthony Rivera before a late first period reversal tied the match. On bottom
to start the second, he reversed Rivera to his back and pinned him at 2:24.
"I tried to go to
my offense and it didn't work, so I just bailed out. He wasn't on top of me
the first (match) at all, so when he got on top of me, it was kind of a
surprise," Kaiser said. "Honestly, I don't really know (what happened). I
was just trying to keep moving and I caught him. I caught a head and arm. It
was kind of just there. I think it was pretty good, but I can always do
better. I'm always working to improve, just more offense on my feet, getting
undefeated with a methodical 7-3 victory over Crown Point freshman Orlando
Cruz, opening up a close match in the third period.
"I just trust my
conditioning, all the stuff my coaches have taught me that we work on in the
room," Ellis said. "The third period flurry involved a little bit of funk
and scramble, something I just saw was there. I went for it, tried to be a
little creative, and it worked. We work in groups of three, me, Cade and
(Aidan) Torres, and all three of us are working hard together, pushing the
pace as best as we possibly can. None of us like to lose. I think that
really translates into our matches. We've always got a game plan for our
While happy with
the win, Ellis is always looking for more.
"It was a good win
against a tough opponent, but my goal wasn't just to get a decision," he
said. "I was aiming for much higher than that, which is a little
disappointing. I don't think I was getting to my attacks as much as I should
have, being as offensive as I needed to be to accomplish that goal, but it
gives me something to work for in the room and prepare for hopefully
Regional finals and a rematch."
Bates took the
drama out of what was supposed to be a marquee matchup, dominating
Merrillville's Jason Streck 11-1. Both of Streck's losses have come to
Bates, though this one was more decisive than the first.
"It was pretty
close. I didn't need to make it that close. We were neutral for about three
minutes. I wasn't really shooting," Bates said of their 5-2 first meeting.
"I wanted to open up more. This shows I can compete with anyone in the state
if I believe in myself."
second at 126, where Torres fell 10-4 to C.P.'s Stephen Roberson. Matt Neff
(La Porte) edged Gavin Layman 3-1 in overtime for the 170 title. A locked
hands call on Neff in the final seconds gave Layman his only point and sent
the match to a seventh minute, but Neff promptly hit a takedown. At 195,
Jevonte Williams' late takedown of Chesterton's Gage Demarco gave the
Merrillville senior a 7-5 win.
"We saw some kids
suck some matches up, Cade, Brock, even to get to the finals," Joll said.
"We had kids who were sick. We had a JV '32 (Chad Berdine), '60 (Martin) and
'82 (Kaleb Wymer) in there and they wrestled like champs. Our JV '70 takes
third at '82 in the DAC. That's excellent. I'm proud of 'em."
In addition to
Wymer, Doug Waters added a third at 113.
Crown Point won the
first five weight classes and garnered six in all, followed by Chesterton's
four. Merrillville picked up two titles, while La Porte and Portage had one
1. Crown Point,
212.5; 2. Chesterton, 203; 3. Merrillville, 181; 4. Portage, 180.5; 5. Lake
Central, 164; 6. Valparaiso, 120; 7. LaPorte, 115; 8. Michigan City, 10.
106 -- Sam Goin
(CP) fall Johnny Cortez (LC), 2:35. 113 -- Logan Frazier (CP) tech fall Nam
Doan (LC), 18-1. 120 -- Riley Bettich (CP0 dec. Ty Haskins (P), 11-2. 126 --
Stephen Roberson (CP) dec. Aidan Torres (C), 10-4. 132 -- Jesse Mendez (CP)
tech fall Bradley Conrad (P), 19-4. 138 -- Ethan Kaiser (C) fall Anthony
Rivera (M), 2:24. 145 -- Brock Ellis (C) dec. Orlando Cruz (CP), 7-3. 152 --
Cade Johnson (C) dec. Cristian Ponce (LC), 15-14. 160 -- Noah Hollendonner
(CP) dec. Isaac Hegwood (P), 11-1. 170 -- Matt Neff (L) dec. Gavin Layman
(C), 3-1 (OT). 182 -- Khris Walton (M) dec. Colin Kwiatkowski (V), 5-1. 195
-- Jevonte Williams (M) dec. Gage Demarco (C), 7-5. 220 -- Evan Bates (C)
dec. Jason Streck, 11-1. 285 -- Damari Dancy (P) dec. Zach Velazquez (V),
Third Place Round
106 -- Ashton
Jackson (L) dec. David Maldonado (M), 1-0. 113 -- Doug Waters (C) dec.
Stefan Vitello (V), 8-0. 120 -- Sebastian Cortez (LC) dec. Sean Angillo
Mitchell (L), 8-2. 126 -- Aleksander Pejovski (M) dec. Lucas Underwood (P),
8-2. 132 -- Isaiah Ponce (LC) fall Alex Bennett (V), 2:59. 138 -- Jak Krouse
(V) dec. Nick Tattini (CP), 4-3. 145 -- Tyson Nisley (L) dec. Tyler Herring
(P), 9-2. 152 -- Aidan Pollitt (V) dec. Seth Willems (CP), 7-5. 160 -- Caleb
Carter (M) dec. Kamare Dunlap (MC), 3-2. 170 -- Tylee Swopes (P) fall Jake
Sues (LC), :33. 182 -- Kaleb Wyme (C) dec. Aiden Alonso (LC), 8-4. 195 --
Michael Degrado (LC) fall Collin Bergquist (L), 3:38. 220 -- Cory Hill (P)
dec. Eddie Alonso (LC) 9-5. 285 -- Seth Garcia (LC) dec. Theodore Sparks
106 -- Miles Conrad
(P) fall Xavier Hicks (V), :56. 113 -- Adam Partin (P) fall Lucas Clement
(M), 2:44. 120 -- Joey Bengs (V) dec. Nasir Christion (M), 3-0. 126 -- Dylan
Mullens (LC) fall Thad Blevins (L), 3:39. 132 -- Cameron Williams (M) dec.
Chad Berdine (C), 14-4. 138 -- Alex Cornejo (P) fall Leevi Ferguson (L),
:39. 145 -- Jack Thrusby (V) dec. Elijah Sandridge (M), 11-5. 152 -- Tyler
Turner (M) fall Jerome Trae Anderson (L), 2:05. 160 -- Tyler Martin (C) dec.
Dylan Kwiatkowski (V), 8-1. 170 -- Deante Windrom (M) FFW Camden Morgan
(CP). 182 -- Jaden Browder (L) fall Trey White (P), 2:04. 195 -- Christian
D’Antonio (P) dec. Pierceton Pine (V), 13-8. 220 -- Drew Kubaszyk (L) fall
Jack Yagelski (CP), :36. 285 -- Jack Ruess (CP) fall Connor Katsafaros (C),