GARY | What’s old is new again in the wrestling state tournament.
Next week’s regional champion will be decided at the individual tournament after several years of using the mid-week team regional format.
Portage coach Leroy Vega is happy his Indians stood tall on the podium at Saturday’s Calumet Sectional. The Times No. 3 Indians dominated with 310.5 points to runner-up Hobart’s 241.
The Indians will send 13 of their 14 wrestlers to the regional and grabbed eight individual titles in the process.
“I can’t complain about that,” Vega said. “It’s nice, and we’re going to move forward to the regional.”
The top four finishers in each weight class advance to next Saturday’s Calumet Regional.
Tyler Joseph (106), Gaige Torres (113), Louis Escobedo (120), Dylan Logsdon (126), Julian Torres (132), Stephon Wilkins (145), Danny Roach (152) and Matthew Hedrick (195) were all crowned sectional champions.
“We train all season for the postseason, and it’s nice to come out here and perform what we expected,” Vega said. “We expected to have all 14 in the finals, and it was nice to have 11 in the finals.”
Gaige Torres, Logsdon, Julian Torres and Wilkins all won by pins, while Escobedo and Roach won by major decision.
“We like to come and dominate everything we do,” Roach said. “We’re trying to take (the regional) too. We’re working hard.”
Vega said Roach exemplified what the Indians try to do as a team.
“He wins by dominating guys,” he said. “I know when they step off the mat, they don’t want to wrestle him again.”
The Indians know what it takes to win and advance where it will likely battle Merrillville for the regional crown.
“It’s great to know that all that hard work paid off in the end,” Hedrick said.
Champions from Hobart were Tony Vasquez, who scored a late third-period takedown to edge Portage’s Jason Spence at 138, Scottie Sopko (170), Antonio Rodriguez (182) and Gerald Valenzuela (285).
Other individual champs were Highland’s Mark Maldonado (160) and River Forest’s Roberto Yanez (220).
“It will be exciting next week,” Vega said. “We beat Merrillville in the year and they beat us in the DAC, so we’re ready to get right back at it.”