INDIANAPOLIS | Three region wrestlers came into the state finals undefeated and they left Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday night the exact same way.
Hanover Central junior Stevan Micic (113 pounds), Merrillville sophomore Bobby Steveson (170) and Lake Central junior Gelen Robinson (220) captured titles to put the exclamation point on perfect seasons.
"It doesn't seem real right now," Steveson said after pulling out a 5-4 win over previously-unbeaten Riley Lefever of Carroll (Fort Wayne). "I know it happened, but it doesn't feel like it happened. It's a dream come true. When I was young, I dreamed about it happening. I was always up in the sky box watching, wanting to win it."
Steveson (39-0) scored the winning takedown with 26 seconds left, breaking a 3-3 tie, and held on after a Lefever escape.
"He was strong," Steveson said. "He defended my shots well. He got in deep a few times by the edge of the mat. Coach (David Maldonado) told me to get moving. I knew I had to get moving."
It wasn't the perfect finish that Micic envisioned, but his season still ended the same way his sophomore season did.
Fighting a cold and a flare-up of his sports-induced asthma, Micic (48-0) wasn't his usual dominant self, but the 2012 state champion at 106 pounds garnered his second title, gutting out a 9-7 decision over Penn's Zachary Davis.
"I got the first takedown and I felt it," Micic said. "It's hard when you're not able to breathe as well. You've just got to push through it. Not everything's going to go your way all the time. It's not what I wanted, but I got the job done."
Micic, who defeated Davis twice by technical fall, including last Saturday's Merrillville Semistate, took control in the second period and rode Davis until the final seconds of the third.
"He came out hard. I like that," Micic said. "He made adjustments I made adjustments to his adjustments. It was harder than it should have been. I was really tired. It was hard to do the things I work on in practice."
Robinson (49-0) controlled Kokomo's Fletcher Miller all the way, handing him his first loss, 7-2.
"It's crazy. It's undescribable how good it feels," said Robinson, whose dad Glenn drove from Atlanta to see him wrestle. "Words can't tell how excited I am. (Finishing third) last year was all the motivation I need to keep going this year."
A pin and technical fall machine all season, Robinson steered through the field, having to go the distance every match.
"My focus was getting the first takedown," he said. "That was my main key. I wasn't going for pins. Everybody here's good. You're not going to get a pin every time. I did a good job executing the plan, doing all the little things right, and it showed on the podium."
Lowell's Drew Hughes (39-2) was runner-up at 120, losing under the spotlight to Deondre Wilson (38-0) of Warren Central, 6-2. Hughes' only previous defeat came at 126.
"He's really strong. I couldn't get any of my ties," Hughes said. "The match seemed like it went on forever. It felt like the longest match I've ever been in. He controlled the whole match. I didn't have an answer for anything he was doing."
Even so, Hughes trailed just 4-2 in the closing seconds, when Wilson countered his final attempt to tie the match and took him down.
"I got so close to some takedowns," Hughes said. "I just couldn't finish. I felt like I didn't wrestle to my full potential. (Second)'s good, but it'll make me work harder for next year."