Chesterton Tribune



Tolin, Hallas, Katsafaros win Individual Duneland Conference Wrestling titles

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Back when Dax Jones attended Chesterton, Sawyer Hallas considered him his best friend.

That changed when Jones transferred to Crown Point in 2012.

"There's a rivalry with some kids in our school," Hallas said.

The former teammates met as opponents for the second time this season in Saturday's Duneland Athletic Conference tournament, where Sawyer prevailed again, blanking Jones 2-0 to win the 160-pound title.

"All I wanted to do was win," said Hallas, who placed sixth in the meet a year ago.

Hallas won without benefit of an offensive point, earning one in the first period for a Jones penalty (illegal head scissors) and one in the third when Jones let him escape.

"He's always been more of a technical wrestler," Hallas said. "I train for the end. He gets really tired really fast. He wears down and starts to make mistakes."

Chesterton coach Chris Joll knew what the victory meant to Hallas and his teammates, but stepped delicately on the subject.

"Beating a quality Crown Point guy is always a big deal for our program," Joll said. "Sawyer's been trying to do more things, more individualized training in practice, and part of that paid off. He is an incredible athlete with great body awareness. He always knows where he is on the mat, which side is down and which is top when he's in a scramble. The only thing he lacks is the experience."

Hallas and fellow Trojan champions Jack Tolin (106) and Alex Katsafaros (170) helped Chesterton to a fourth-place finish with 168 points, 1.5 in front of Lake Central and three behind Portage. Merrillville topped C.P. for team honors, 217-204.

"I told them I thought we should be fourth and we were," Joll said. "We had a '52 who didn't make weight who I think could've beaten a forfeit and a concussion, but it's hard to set a goal, achieve it, and then realize there's another goal ahead of us. We had a pretty good day."

Tolin, a freshman, pinned Portage's Tyler Joseph at 3:04 of the finals, rolling him to his back after Joseph tried to hit a low single. He was the sole ninth grader to capture a title.

"Coming into the season, you have to know January and February are important months," said Tolin, a 12-11 winner over Joseph in a prior meeting. "It's the time that matters. You really have to push yourself to your limits in practice. I just try to stay in good position on my feet. It stops a guy from doing what we want to do. Opportunities are there every match. The difference is whether you can see them or not or take them or not."

Joll has been impressed with the maturity Tolin has shown.

"Sometimes, we forget they're 14 years old, no matter how they look or carry themselves," Joll said. "Jack's a good boy. He's wrestling tough. He's had difficulty winning matches cleanly, so it's great to see him get rewarded. That's not luck. That's years and years of wrestling, him being prepared. It's been a long season for him, but he's adjusting."

Katsafaros needed a takedown in the last 10 seconds to get past Merrillville's Deven Lee 5-3.

"He's a solid wrestler," Katsafaros said of Lee. "I knew it was probably going to come down to me and him."

The Trojans senior tipped the scales at 164.5 pounds, still getting back up to weight after a nasty case of the flu a few weeks ago.

"I lost a lot of weight and I just can't put it back on," he said. "I lose four pounds practicing, so it's hard to keep it up there. My conditioning's where it needs to be. It's just a case now of having a week off before sectionals and putting on some weight."

The tight finish wasn't uncommon for Katsafaros.

"He's had three matches where he's come from behind and beat a kid who was a better athlete," Joll said. "I don't know how he does it. He doesn't ask questions. He knows what he needs to do. This is a group of seniors that I'm close to and he's one of them. I hold them in high regard. He and Jaycee (Jensen) are both really light. I asked Alex if he wanted to go '60 and he said he'll be OK wrestling '70."

Chesterton's other finalist, Mike Double, lost by technical fall at 5:44 of the 132 final to Crown Point's unbeaten Zach Donaldson. Double defeated Portage's Juan Duque to reach the championship.

"Mike's an incredible athlete. He sets his own limits as far as what he wants to achieve," Joll said. "He's been wrestling since he was a freshman and doesn't know how good he could be. It's in his mind."

Also for Chesterton, Jaycee Jensen took third at 182, while Dan Cutter (195) and Connor Smith (220) earned fourths and Jackson Heard (285) a fifth.

"Jackson's a first-year ex-swimmer wrestler. We told him he was why we got fourth," Joll said. "He's starting to get it a little bit. Jaycee came back and got a pin. DaQwon Stewart had a nice win. Luke Zelenika pinned a kid who had beaten him. Those were all points that helped us."

DAC Tournament


Team Results

1. Merrillville 217, 2. Crown Point 204, 3. Portage 171, 4. Chesterton 168, 5. Lake Central 166.5, 6. Valparaiso 137, 7. LaPorte 81, 8. Michigan City 16.

Individual Results


106 -- Jack Tolin (C) d. Tyler Joseph (P) 3:09. 113 -- Mike Garza (M) d. Austin Torres (CP) 4-0. 120 -- Gaige Torres (P) tech. fall Daylan Schurg (CP) 5:01. 126 -- Clarence Johnson (M) d. Branden Truver (LC) 10-3. 132 -- Zach Donaldson (CP) tech. fall Mike Double (C) 5:44. 138 -- Jacob Covaciu (M) d. Josh Fuqua (CP) 1-0. 145 -- Isaac Rentas (M) d. Jake Sebahar (LC) 8-2. 152 -- Darden Schurg (CP) d. Kody Christenson (LC) 5-0. 160 -- Sawyer Hallas (C) d. Dax Jones (CP) 2-0. 170 -- Alex Katsafaros (C) d. Deven Lee (M) 5-3. 182 -- Mike Eldridge (LP) p. Matt Hollins (M) 4:27. 195 -- Morgan Kral (CP) d. Derrick Suttles (V) 5-3. 220 -- Gelen Robinson (LC) p. Travis Williams (P) 5:56. 285 -- Shawn Streck (M) p. Landon Blackburn (LP) 3:10.


106 -- Michael DeLaPena (M) d. Jonathan Moran (CP) 2-1. 113 -- Austin Line (V) d. Miguel Prado (P) 1-0. 120 -- Justin Johnson (M) d. Zack Wells (LP) 4-3 (OT). 126 -- Riley Akers (CP) d. Louis Escobedo (P) 3-0. 132 -- Derek Scott (M) d. Antonio Presta (LC) 6-0. 138 -- Steven Lawrence (P) p. Nick Taylor (LC) 2:10. 145 -- Davin Gonzalez (P) d. Denton Schurg (CP) 3-1. 152 -- Willie Armstrong (M) d. Iszak Morgan (P) 5-2. 160 -- Darren Svitko (P) d. Jake Kleimola (LC) 6-4. 170 -- Danny Vargas (LC) tech. fall Grant Mikowski (LP) 3:36. 182 -- Jaycee Jensen (C) d. Elliot Granados (V) 6-4. 195 -- Matt Hedrick (CP) d. Dan Cutter (C) 11-1. 220 -- Alex Kukurugya (V) p. Connor Smith (C) 4:55. 285 -- Nick Minkema (LC) d. Ian Suttles (V) 5-2.



Posted 1/20/2014





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