Prep wrestling

Portage takes third straight wrestling sectional title

2011-01-29T22:00:00Z 2011-01-30T03:14:13Z Portage takes third straight wrestling sectional titleBy Jim Peters jim.peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com
January 29, 2011 10:00 pm  • 

LAPORTE | The only bad thing about hosting the team regional is the prospect of not being a participant in it.

"You don't want to set up the gym and take it down and not even wrestle a match," Portage senior Paul Shane said.

That won't be a concern for the Indians, who won their third straight LaPorte Sectional on Saturday to advance to Wednesday's team regional. Portage posted 239.5 points to runner-up New Prairie's 204, boosted by the unlikely trio of Shane (119), Anthony Espinosa (152) and Vince Fischer (215).

"If you would've told (me they) would be our three champions, I would've told you you're crazy," coach Pat Wilkins said. "It's good to see people who work hard put it together and reap some benefits that they're not used to getting."

The tournament titles were the first for all three Indians seniors.

"It feels great, coming back and putting in the hard work," said Shane, who missed most of his junior season with a torn labrum. "I knew if I performed well, I'd be in decent shape."

Fischer prevailed 2-1 after LaPorte's Max Thode was penalized for stalling with 14 seconds left.

"I knew if I took a shot, I was going to get it," Fischer said. "The last 20 seconds, he broke. Basically, that's how I win all my matches -- grind it out."

Espinosa registered a technical fall to record his team-best 27th win.

"It's nice, but I want to win regionals, get to semistate and state," he said, crediting his work with assistant coach Eric Keith.

Titles were distributed evenly among four teams with Chesterton, New Prairie and Michigan City also garnering three.

"I haven't had three champs here since I've been at Chesterton," coach Chris Joll said.

Anthony Quiroz (23-0) remained perfect at 160 with a 14-0 major decision over LaPorte's Alex Stewart.

"I was pretty upset because it was a close match (4-0 at conference), so I went back and corrected a few things and some of it showed in the match," Quiroz said. "I was on offense a lot of the time. I just want to keep on with the winning streak."

In a matchup of state-ranked 135s, Chris Katsafaros edged Portage's Luis Acuna 3-2, escaping in the fifth minute for the decisive tally.

"It was totally conditioning," said Katsafaros, who reversed a pair of 3-1 setbacks to Acuna this season. "Getting the first (and only) takedown was the key to the win."

Trojan senior Will Butz captured his first sectional title with a 5-2 decision at 145.

"I was the only senior left. We had nine or 10 when we were freshmen," Butz said. "It felt good to get it for coach Joll, all the things he taught me. Plus, it's his birthday."

Kenny Smith (125), Chris Felske (140) and Andrew Schroeder (189) helped Michigan City (third with 150 points) to its best finish since 2003.

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