Chesterton Tribune



Jensen highlights Trojans at Wrestling Sectional

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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.

"It's really 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 keep going."

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 fortunes.

"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.

"Connor came 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."

The second-seeded Smith faced Ibarra after Ibarra upset top-seeded Bayland Brown of North Judson.

"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.

"We wrestled 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 toward state."

Tolin was the only freshman champion.

"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 to him."

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 Prairie contingent.

"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."

IHSAA LaPorte Sectional

Team Scores

1. New Prairie 253, 2. Chesterton 242, 3. LaPorte 180, 4. Knox 161, 5. John Glenn 139, 6. LaVille 128, 7. North Judson 57, 8. Michigan City 29.

(Top four wrestlers in each weight class advance to Saturday's Crown Point Regional)


106 -- Jack Tolin (C) pin Kyle Gaurotte (NP) 3:15. 113 -- Chris Trent (NP) dec. Josh Jensen (C) 14-3. 120 -- Zack Wells (LP) dec. Brad Freestone (NP) 3-1. 126 -- Tristan Weaver (LV) dec. Ronald Fisher (K) 3-1. 132 -- Mike Double (C) dec. Eric Brown (NP) 4-2 (OT). 138 -- John Trent (NP) dec. James Frey (G) 2-1. 145 -- Eric Dan (K) pin Jaren Young (NP) 2:42. 152 -- Jacob Krause (K) pin Luke Zelenika (C) 3:49. 160 -- Adam Dodson (G) dec. Sawyer Hallas (C) 3-1. 170 -- Wade Young (NP) dec. Alex Katsafaros (C) 3-1 (OT). 182 -- Jaycee Jensen (C) dec. Mike Eldridge (LP) 15-13. 195 -- Michael Sustaita (K) pin Danny Cutter (C) 4:36. 220 -- Connor Smith (C) dec. Miguel Ibarra (NP) 8-1. 285 -- Landon Blackburn (LP) pin Austin Wilson (LV) 3:30.


106 -- Seth Hernandez (K) pin A.J. Knight (NJ) 2:46. 113 -- Seth Joseph (K) won by forfeit. 120 -- Devon Becker (G) dec. Steven Smith (NJ) 3-2. 126 -- Eric Kramer (C) pin Collin Jacobs (NP) 2:21. 132 -- Braden Griffin (LP) dec. Anthony Felke (LV) 8-4. 138 -- DaQwon Stewart (C) dec. Colton Tanber (LP) 3-1. 145 -- Jacob Shaffer (LP) pin Kolton Rudynski (G) 2:54. 152 -- Cody MacLeod (NP) dec. Michael Clifton (LV) 0:12. 160 -- Dalton Escobedo (NP) pin Cameron Prankus (LP) 2:39. 170 -- Ben Norton (LV) pin Grant Mikowski (LP) 1:05. 182 -- Dylan Pflughaupt (NP) dec. Corrian Correll (LV) 2:53. 195 -- Derek Pflughaupt (NP) dec. Miguel Barron (LP) 5-2. 220 -- Bayland Brown (NJ) pin Andrew Hansen (G) 3:13. 285 -- Jacob Ayers (G) pin Jackson Heard (C) 1:19.


120 -- Dee Collins (MC) dec. Stephen Biancardi (C) 13-2 (fifth place); 145 -- Jayr Tolbert (LV) pin Joe Stento (C) 6:16 (fifth place).



Posted 2/3/2014