PARK FOREST | When T.F. South's Blake Tisza pinned all three of his opponents in 1 minute, 30 seconds or less Saturday at the Rich East Rocket Tournament, coaches took notice.
Tisza was named Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament on his way to the 138 pound championship. Tisza, who has been wrestling at 145 this season, dropped down to 138 for the tournament.
"I felt good," Tisza said after his first place finish. "I've been wrestling 145 pretty much all year and going down to 138 was a big difference. I guess that will make me better at the end of the season."
Tisza is looking for a state final appearance in 2013 and said the measure of his senior year will be dependent on what happens on the road to the state finals.
"We'll know what kind of a year it was when I get down there," Tisza said. "I'm feeling pretty good right now, but I don't think I'm right there yet."
Tisza helped lead the Rebels (133) to a fourth place team finish. Merrillville (193) captured first place in the team standings while Bloom Township (166) finished third. The Pirates and Rebels both had three wrestlers take home first place titles. Adam Garcia finished in first place at the 120 pound division for the Pirates and had moved down a weight class as well.
"Today was my first day making 120," Garcia said. "Usually I wrestle 126 and I felt pretty good today. I felt like my shots and my technique, I felt they were great. In my eyes, the competition is more physical out here. It's way different from Indiana."
Jacob Covaciu captured first at 132 pounds for Merrillville and teammate Bobby Stevenson took first place at 170 pounds.
"We got some good wrestling time in with some good competition," Covaciu said. "I'm pretty happy with where I'm at, but I just have to work harder and do better."
T.F. South's Joe Young won his first place match with a thrilling 6-4 overtime decision against Rich South's Roy Hickman. Rebel Corinthian McBridge pinned Austin Rosenfeldt of Crete-Monee in 3:35 to capture the 285 pound crown. Young had been battling the flu but felt fine once the matches began and was able to run his season record to 13-0.
"I didn't think I was going to be able to pull out first because I was sick," Young said. "As I started wrestling I was like 'I'll be o.k.'. The last match I was just trying to hang in there til the end. It was a tough fight."
Bloom Township's Mr. Clark won the 195 pound championship with a pin of Hinsdale South's Matthew LeGare.
"I've got to work on my ground game a little bit," Clark said. "Work on my take downs a lot more too. I had a tough match in the last one. I'm doing good, but I could always do better."