CROWN POINT | Crown Point senior Josh Fuqua was relaxed standing mat side in his sweats about 45 minutes after his upset victory at 138 pounds Saturday.
Earlier, Fuqua and his Bulldogs' teammates brought a heightened intensity to the mat, as the hosts emphatically won their 12th consecutive sectional crown, amassing 263 points to outdistance runner-up Valparaiso’s 194.5.
Lowell took third with 187 points.
“It was really put out there that we had to do better than we were seeded,” Fuqua said.
Crown Point coach Scott Vlink said scoring bonus points on falls in the early rounds gave his charges a cushion going into the finals.
“We told our kids all week we thought this was going to be close, and we had to score,” he said.
Teams get two bonus points for each fall in an individual match, and Vlink estimated they picked up 10 falls in the early rounds.
“In the finals you just worry about winning matches and getting good match-ups for next week,” he said.
Fuqua (11-2) stunned previously unbeaten Drew Hughes (27-1), of Lowell, with a 4-2 victory, scoring a takedown with 20 seconds left in the match.
“I just tried wrestling to win and not to lose,” Fuqua said.
“He wrestled a very good strategic, tactical match,” Vlink said.
In all, Crown Point qualified 12 wrestlers, including six champs, for next week’s regional.
“We thought this was going to be tight,” Vlink said. “Our kids really stepped up.”
Valpo was a bit of surprise at second and qualified 11 for the CP Regional, including two champions -- Austin Line at 113 and Ian Suttles at 285.
First-year coach Mark Line told his kids to believe in their schedule, their teammates and what they’ve done.
“You come in, you wrestle hard and work to exceed your seeds,” he said. “Our kids are starting to believe right now. We’re young. We’re diaper dandies.”
Lowell advanced eight with three champions and four runner-ups on the day, including unbeaten Kennith Hughes (28-0) at 160.
“We wrestled well,” coach Bobby Howard said. "Crown Point is a deep team. They’re scoring points in every weight class, and that’s what you need to win something like this.”
Kankakee Valley’s Tim Schoonveld will take a 39-1 mark into the regional after his technical fall victory at 182 over Lowell’s John Bigbie.
“I’ve got a big match against (LaPorte’s Mike) Eldrige next week at regionals, so hopefully I can have a good match against him," Schoonveld said.
Hanover’s Stevan Micic remained undefeated (31-0) at 126, while Tyler Scott (33-3) avenged an early season 2-1 loss and upset previously unbeaten Morgan Kral (29-1) 5-3 at 195, and the two will likely meet next week.
“He’ll be in the finals with me, I have no doubt,” said Scott, who won sectionals at 182 last year.