The second spot on the awards podium has become a familiar spot for Chris
The Chesterton senior came into Saturday’s Duneland Athletic Conference
tournament having been runner-up every year of his high school career.
After winning the 145-pound weight class with a 6-2 decision over Portage’s
Stephon Wilkins, Katsafaros finally got the chance to enjoy the view from
“Hopefully, down the road, I’ll keep winning firsts in everything,” said
Katsafaros, whose only loss this season came in overtime in the finals of
the Al Smth Classic at Mishawaka. “I felt like I executed pretty well. I’ve
still got a lot to work on before state comes, but I’m feeling good right
Katsafaros pinned Wilkins earlier in the season, though he only led that
match 2-0 after two periods.
“I did a lot better,” Katsafaros said. “I came in a lot sharper. I feel more
conditioned. You can’t make mistakes, especially in the DAC. Anything can
happen and you can get beat that day.”
Prior to the finals, Katsafaros (33-1) pinned LaPorte’s Cameron Prankus in
3:22 and majored C.P.’s Tyler Burlison 11-2.
“Chris has been trying to the get that conference title for so long,” coach
Chris Joll said. “It’s like he’s checking off boxes.”
Chesterton’s only other finalist, Joe Ponda, was pinned in 1:14 by Crown
Point’s unbeaten Morgan Kral at 195. He outlasted Merrillville’s Alex Jara
3-2 in overtime of the semifinals to advance.
“Joe’s not the greatest athlete in the world. It’s like he’s just trying
something and trying as hard as I can,” Joll said. “We’re happy to see him
get where he was. Many people have trouble beating Morgan Kral. That’s no
The Trojans got a third from top-seeded heayweight Ryley Harlow, who came
back with a pin in the after getting pinned himself in the semifinals by
C.P.’s Quinton Klingberg.
“We got a little greedy,” Joll said. “We haven’t wrestled anybody with (Klingberg’s)
dimensions. He’s a more compact kid. It’s a little setback, but it’ll be
good experience for the post-season, a lesson for him. We learned a lot as
coaches, too, so it’ll help everybody.”
Chesterton’s surprise of the meet came at 120 where Matt Estill came back
from a first-round loss to finish third. He strung together three consolaton
wins, capped by a 4-3 OT victory over C.P.’s Brett Ervin, who beat him 9-3
in the morning.
“Coaches (Brian) Swallow and (Jason) Cook have done a nice job getting Matt
where he needed to go,” Joll said. “He’s come a long way as a freshman. He’s
learned something new every day, every meet about wrestling, how things
work. He’s learned the team aspect of things and has got a handle on it now.
We’re very happy with him.”
Mike Double took fourth at 126, where he was pinned in the consolation round
by Portage’s Dylan Logsdon at 3:38.
“He did a nice job. He beat two pretty good guys,” Joll said.
Elsehwere for the Trojans, Kaitlin Loehmer (106), Jack Davison (132) and
Tommy St. Germain (160) placed fifth, while Hunter Rucklos (138) and Sawyer
Hallas (152) took sixth. Regulars Tyler Gillespie (concussion) and Connor
Smith (hamstring) didn’t wrestle.
“We had a couple kids who had bad tournaments,” Joll said. “Kids don’t like
to tell me when they’re sick, but Sawyer wasn’t physically able to do some
things and that was the reason why. “
Crown Point reclaimed the team title from Merrillville, posting 245 points
to the Pirates’ 218.5. Portage took third at 205.5, with Valpo a distant
fourth (146). Lake Central edged Chesterton for fifth, 113.5-113.
“It was a good meet, a good springboard for the sectional,” Joll said. “We’d
like to have done a little better, but we weren’t going to sacrifice three
guys to maybe get fourth and maybe only fifth. We’ve got a team thing we’re
shooting for the sectional, so we decided to rest them. We put in others and
they were happy to step up to fill a spot and give it their all.”
Athletic Conference Championship
AT CROWN POINT
1. Crown Point 245 2. Merrillville 218.5, 3. Portage 205.5, 4. Valparaiso
146, 5. Lake Central 113.5, 6. Chesterton 113, 7. LaPorte 87, 8. Michigan
106 -- Michael Garza (M) d. Riley Akers (CP) 5-1. 113 -- Gaige Torres (P)
tech. fall Branden Truver (LC) 4:25. 120 -- Adam Garcia (M) d. Matt
Lechowicz (LC) 6-3. 126 -- Josh Fuqua (CP) d. Max Buckley (V) 1-0. 132 --
Julian Torres (P) d. Trevor Burlison (CP) 6-4. 138 -- Darden Schurg (CP) d.
Mack Neal (V) 16-6. 145 -- Chris Katsafaros (C) d. Stephon Wilkins (P) 6-2.
152 -- Dusty Schurg (CP) p. Danny Roach (P) 3:57. 160 -- Matt Hollins (M) d.
Dax Jones (CP) 14-7. 170 -- Bobby Steveson (M) tech. fall Mike Eldridge (LP)
4:07. 182 -- Exvonte Jones (P) d. Matt Langbehn (CP) 14-5. 195 -- Morgan
Kral (CP) p. Joe Ponda (C) 1:14. 220 -- Gelen Robinson (LC) p. Ben Standifer
(LP) 0:27. Hwt. -- Shawn Streck (M) p. Quinton Klingberg (CP) 4:31.
106 -- Tyler Schwartz (V) d. Tyler Joseph (P) 6-2. 113 -- Alex Bravo (V) d.
Justin Johnson (M) 11-2. 120 -- Matt Estill (C) d. Brett Ervin (CP) 4-3. 126
-- Dylan Logsdon (P) p. Mike Double (C) 3:38. 132 -- Jake Covaciu (M) d.
Ricardo Rosario (V) 6-4. 138 -- Isaac Rentas (M) d. Jason Spence (P) 3-0.
145 -- Tyler Burlison (CP) d. Willie Armstrong (M) 5-2. 152 -- Cody
Christenson (LC) d. George Krummel (V) 9-1. 160 -- Alex Guerrero (P) d. Nick
Greco (V) 5-2. 170 -- Jacob Hazi (CP) d. Jake Wright (P) 5-2. 182 -- Darius
Ginn (V) won by injury default over Eric Deluna (M). 195 -- Elliott Grandoas
(V) p. Alex Jara (M) 1:31. 220 -- Steven Potoskey (CP) d. Travis Williams
(P) 1-0. Hwt. -- Ryley Harlow (C) p. Landon Blackburn (LP) 2:14.
(Chesterton wrestlers only)
106 -- Kaitlin Loehmer (C) d. Shamus Troy (LP) 7-1. 132 -- Jack Davison (C)
d. Darius Arriaga (LC) 2-0. 138 -- Antwan Wordlaw (LP) d. Hunter Rucklos (C)
9-2. 152 -- Deven Lee (M) d. Sawyer Hallas (C) 3-2. 160 -- Tommy St. Germain
(C) d. Dan Vargas (LC) 5-2.