INDIANAPOLIS | Growing up in Cedar Lake, Stevan Micic idolized Andrew Howe, the three-time state champion for Hanover Central in 2006-08.
Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Micic joined the elite club, winning his own third title with a 10-5 triumph over Penn's Zachary Davis at 126 pounds.
"He was my role model since I was little," Micic said of Howe. "I'd go up and see him practice. I always looked up to him. He always knew I'd be good. I didn't know if I'll get on his level or not. Hopefully, I'll pass him."
The 106 champ in 2012 and '11 runner-up at at 103, Micic edged Davis 9-7 in the 113 final last season. Their eighth meeting in high school, all won by Micic, wasn't as close. The nation's top-ranked 126 scored five takedowns to Davis' five escapes.
"I knew he was just trying to stay close," Micic said. "I had to make sure I got my points. I've wrestled him enough times. I'm relieved the season is over. I respect him for coming up to my weight and challenging me."
Micic is the 10th region wrestler to capture at least three state titles.
Lake Central's Gelen Robinson (52-0) capped his second straight undefeated season with another 220 championship, besting Kokomo's Fletcher Miller 9-3 in a replay of a year ago.
"It's an amazing feeling. There's nothing else like it," Robinson said. "I've been looking forward to this day since last year's win, anticipating, knowing it wouldn't be easy. It's been a great process."
The bout, he said, was "most likely" his last, but "not 100 percent."
"I'm glad to say I've been this successful throughout my high school career," he said. "I couldn't have done it without my coaches, teammates and everyone in the stands rooting for me. It all worked out for the good for me."
Griffith's Jeremiah Reitz (45-1) may attain Micic's status in a few years. The Panthers' 106-pounder did something that Micic didn't even do -- win a title as a freshman. Reitz scored an overtime takedown on Mount Vernon's Paul Konrath (48-3) to prevail 4-2.
"I can't even describe it," Reitz said. "It's everything I've worked for. All year, I didn't focus on wins and losses. I just made sure I learned each time I wrestled, just improving as much as I could. Everything that happened came out as planned."
Griffith's first state champion since Angel Escobedo won his fourth title in 2005, Reitz fought off a tight headlock by Konrath to register the winning points.
"That's where the mental part comes in," Reitz said. "You can't give up. You have to push through the whole time."
Merrillville sophomore Jake Covaciu (138) and Crown Point junior Darden Schurg (152) were both runners-up.
Lawrence North's Tommy Cash (47-1) jumped in front of Covaciu (45-5) and milked the final minute for a 5-3 victory.
"He threw my offense off a little bit," Covaciu said. "I couldn't get to his legs. He's a good defensive wrestler. His offense is off his defense. I just didn't open up like I wanted to. I know I can compete with anyone, everyone, I just have to stay confident and work my offense. I had a really good run. It just didn't finish the way I wanted to. I'll use it as motivation for everything. I'm never satisfied. I'm always after more."
Schurg (37-3) was spladled for a pin at 2:24 of the 152 final by Evansville Central's Brendon Kelley (50-0).
"He's really slick on his feet. He lived off his scrambles," Schurg said. "I went out thinking I had it, but he had a little more going for him."
After missing state as a sophomore, the freshman medalist (fourth) at 113 was happy to be back on the podium.
"Going from semistate qualifier to second in the state is pretty big," Schurg said. "I'm pretty happy with it. I've come leaps and bounds through this. I don't know if I was expected to be first or second. I proved a lot of people wrong."