PREP WRESTLING

Chesterton's Jensen hands LaPorte's Eldridge first wrestling loss at LaPorte Sectional

2014-02-01T19:00:00Z 2014-02-02T00:23:07Z Chesterton's Jensen hands LaPorte's Eldridge first wrestling loss at LaPorte SectionalJim Peters james.peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com
February 01, 2014 7:00 pm  • 

LAPORTE | If Jaycee Jensen doesn't do anything special the rest of the postseason, he will always have this moment.

The Chesterton senior 182-pounder upset previously-undefeated LaPorte's Mike Eldridge 15-13 in the championship of Saturday's LaPorte Sectional, a back-and-forth bout that saw both wrestlers fight their way off their backs in a wild six minutes.

"It's really exhilarating," Jensen said. "It was the craziest match of my high school career. (John) Cook told me if you're hoping to upset a guy like that, you have to go all out, give everything you have, and that's exactly what I did.

"He was going to give me chances and I had to capitalize. It's a great feeling, but there are three more weeks."

Buoyed by a quick takedown and two-point near fall, Jensen led 4-0, but the lead would change hands several times as he and Eldridge each found themselves looking up at the gym lights.

Eldridge led 12-11 in the last 30 seconds, when Jensen reversed him and turned him.

"His cradle is deadly," Jensen said. "I had to stay on top and stay in good position. I firmly believe I'm one of the best in-shape 182s in the state. Coach (Chris) Joll works us really hard. It was a battle of conditioning." 

Connor Smith (220), Mike Double (132) and Jack Tolin (106) also took titles for Chesterton, though New Prairie topped the Trojans, 253-242, for team honors.

"We beat them at '52, '60 and '95, and they came back in the wrestlebacks and scored more getting third than we did getting second," Joll said.

"This is a team we've been duct taping together since Mishawaka. We've had to put a lot of pressure on four younger guys who don't have a whole lot of experience, and they did well to get us that close."

Double also won in dramatic fashion, scoring a takedown at the edge of the mat as New Prairie's Eric Brown went for a headlock in the final seconds of the first overtime to prevail 4-2.

"We were both trying to hit home runs the entire match to score extra points for our teams," Double said. "Once it got to overtime, I didn't want to force anything. All he was looking for was pancakes, trying to throw me the whole entire match, so I had to drive, drive, drive, just keep wrestling smart."

Tolin, a freshman, pinned New Prairie's Kyle Gaurotte in 3:15.

"Technically, I felt good. I executed the stuff I wanted to do coming in," Tolin said. "It's a step. I have bigger goals. I'm looking toward state."

Like Jensen, Smith is a first-time sectional champ as a senior. He handled New Prairie's Miguel Ibarra 8-1 after Ibarra upset top-seeded Bayland Brown of North Judson.

"It's the highlight of my career, so far," Smith said. "All the hard work's paid off. I was able to keep pushing the pace. One of our strengths is we can keep going into the third period. I just stayed with the stuff I'm comfortable with."

Landon Blackburn (285) and Zack Wells (120) won for LaPorte. Blackburn pinned LaVille's Austin Wilson, while Wells hit a late takedown to top New Prairie's Brad Freestone 3-1.

"I worked to my advantages," Blackburn said. "I didn't take shots I didn't need to take. I did a good job controlling my opponents, keeping them down and making smart decisions, cutting them and giving them one instead of two."

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