CALUMET TWP. | The mat was a sea of red as wrestlers gathered to be announced as finalists in each weight class Saturday at Calumet.
Portage put a grappler in nine of 14 championship matches and all nine took home first-place ribbons. The Times No. 4 Indians won their sixth consecutive sectional title in impressive fashion, sending all 14 wrestlers back to Calumet for next week's regional.
"We expect to win. We want to win," coach Leroy Vega said. "It's a mentality now and I love it."
In total, 13 of Portage's 14 wrestlers won their final matches. The Indians scored 293 points to Hobart's 203.5.
"That's a team coming together," Vega said. "Now we're looking forward to hopefully sending up good spots next week to move on to semistate."
Indians sophomore Gaige Torres topped Hobart's Brendan Black in a championship match that had the attention of almost everyone in the gym.
Torres' reversal in the second period started a five-point swing that led to a 9-4 decision.
"He made a mistake and tried to trip me and I just reversed him. From then, I knew I had him," Torres said. "I just kept on pounding on his head and he kept on getting frustrated."
Black and Torres will likely meet again next week.
"It'll be another good one," Torres said.
Miguel Prado (113), Juan Duque (126), Steven Lawrence (138), Davin Gonzalez (145), Iszak Morgan (152), Darren Svitko (160), Matt Hedrick (195) and Travis Williams (220) all won their respective weight classes for Portage.
Senior Alec Noworul claimed a sectional championship for the host Warriors at 132 pounds, taking a 2-1 decision over Lake Station's Steven Ames.
"(Ames) is a real good defensive wrestler, a real tough kid. I knew I would have to be active and I would end up scoring somehow," Noworul said.
"It's real frustrating (to have to grind out a win). I'd like to go out there and just dominate as much as possible, but I have to know you don't always have to do that to win."
River Forest's Robert Yanez stayed undefeated at 285 pounds. The senior beat Calumet's Marshawn Manuel for the fifth time this season in the final with a pin at 1:54.
Yanez said he's ready for the increased level of competition that the regional will bring.
"I'm really confident right now. I'm looking forward to wrestling (Merrillville's Shawn) Streck," Yanez said. "It'll be one of my first times actually wrestling good competition and I want to see how I'll do."
Other individual champions includes Griffith's Jeremiah Reitz (106), Hobart's Scottie Sopko (170) and Calumet's Nick Fowler (182).