Before he took the
mat for his LaPorte Sectional championship match at 182 pounds against
undefeated Mike Eldridge, Chesterton's Jaycee Jensen received some sage, yet
simple advice from a knowledgeable man wearing a maroon sweater.
"Mr. Cook told me,
if you're hoping to upset a guy like this, you have to go all out, give it
everything you have," Jensen said. "He said he was going to give some
chances and I had to capitalize."
Mr. Cook, in this
case, wasn't Trojans assistant coach Jason Cook. It was his dad, hall of
famer John Cook, who was in Chesterton's corner for Saturday's meet. The
words proved helpful for Jensen, who outlasted Eldridge for a wild 15-13
victory that he punctuated with a primal yell.
exhilarating," said Jensen, who lost by pin and decision (10-4) to Eldridge
previously this season. "It's the craziest match of my high school career.
He's a tough kid. His cradle is deadly. I just had to stay on top, stay in
good position. I could take him in on my feet."
Jensen set the tone
early, taking down Eldridge and turning him for a 4-0 lead.
"That was huge,"
Jensen said. "It got me in the right mindset for the match, to do more, to
The lead didn't
last as both wrestlers found themselves on their backs in a back-and-forth
last four minutes. Down 12-11 in the final 20 seconds, Jensen reversed
Eldridge and turned him for the decisive points.
"I truly believe
I'm one of the best in-shape 182s in the state," Jensen said. "Coach Joll is
really hard on us. It was a battle of conditioning. No matter how tough it
gets, we're going to have gas in the tank. It's a great feeling, but there
are three more weeks. It's not over yet."
While Jensen hadn't
beaten Eldridge before, his recent progress offered hope for a change in
"It's hard to
wrestle a guy eight times and he beat him every time," Joll said. "Jaycee's
wrestled Eldridge since he was a freshman, and half the time, he was getting
pinned, but the last time, he lost close. We were better upper body. We
didn't want to get underneath him. Jaycee followed the plan pretty good. He
prepared himself and he believed in himself. It's nice when good things
happen to good kids who do good things."
Joll felt the same
about another senior, 220-pounder Connor Smith, who won with much less
drama, 8-1 over New Prairie's Miguel Ibarra.
through here as a freshman, and he wasn't very good and not working very
hard," Joll said. "He was a big, clunky boy and the only thing that can save
that is drilling. He drilled and drilled and drilled and has gotten so much
better, so much more confident. The only surprise was he didn't pin the guy.
He's got our most falls."
Smith faced Ibarra after Ibarra upset top-seeded Bayland Brown of North
"It's the highlight
of my career, so far," Smith said. "I was able to keep pushing the pace.
Coach Joll does a great job of conditioning us. That's one strength we have,
we can keep going into the third period. All the hard work paid off for a
lot of us. I just did my normal stuff. I didn't try any high-risk moves,
just stuff I'm comfortable with."
Freshman Jack Tolin
won the 106 final with a pin of New Prairie's Kyle Gaurotte in 3:15.
earlier at Munster and it was a closer match," Tolin said. "Seeds don't
really mean anything. Each match, you have to go out and do what you want to
do. That's the key. I felt technically good. I executed the stuff I was
wanting to do coming in. It's a step. I have bigger goals. I'm looking
Tolin was the only
"I'm a big Jack
Tolin fan," Joll said. "I told him that no matter what happened, he needed
to get a fall. He's only got about four or five falls, but he put the screws
Mike Double earned
his second sectional title with nearly eight minutes of work, scoring a
takedown as the first overtime expired to get past New Prairie's Eric Brown
4-2 at 132.
"That's like the
fifth time Mike's gone to sudden death overtime," Joll said. "He's either in
really good shape or he waits until the last possible moment to make his
move. I'll let those who know him decide which it is."
Double was fighting
off a headlock from Brown near the edge of the circle when he was able to
wrap his feet around Brown to earn the takedown, to the chagrin of the New
"I thought I had
it. It was just depending on what the refs said," Double said. "He was
trying to throw me the whole entire match. It was just a matter of wrestling
smart. I knew he was a lot taller and obviously good at throwing. All he was
looking for was pancakes. I just had to drive, drive, drive, try to force
the stall call. We both went in thinking we needed to get a pin, so we were
both trying to hit home runs the entire match. That's why it was such a
low-scoring match. I was expecting to come through."
Chesterton had five
wrestlers finish second -- Josh Jensen (113), Luke Zelenika (152), Sawyer
Hallas (160), Alex Katsafaros (170) and Danny Cutter (182). At 160, Adam
Dodson of Glenn hit a late takedown to top Hallas 3-1. At 170, Katsafaros
lost by the same score in OT to New Prairie's Wade Young, who registered the
winning points in the final seconds of the second extra minute. Chesterton
also advanced Eric Kramer (third at 126), DaQwon Stewart (third at 138) and
Jackson Heard (fourth at 285) to Saturday's Crown Point Regional. New
Prairie topped the Trojans to capture the team trophy, 253-242.
"We beat them at
'52, '60 and '95, and they came back in the wrestlebacks to get more points
than we got getting second," Joll said. "I think we placed ahead of them in
seven weights and they placed ahead of us in seven. They've got a lot of
seniors. This is a team we've been duct taping together since Mishawaka. We
put a lot of pressure on four younger guys who don't have a whole lot of
experience. We can say, darn, we didn't get first, but they did well to get
us that close. It could've easily been worse."