CROWN POINT | Crown Point junior Trevor Blue admitted he was a little surprised when he was told he would be wrestling against Merrillville.
As big of a shock as that was for the backup 135-pounder, Blue knew he couldn't let any nervous feelings get the best of him.
That was never more evident than Wednesday night, when Blue fought back from a 4-1 deficit against Merrillville opponent Jacob Jara to record a pin with 28 seconds remaining in the 135-pound match, a win that helped the Times No. 1 Bulldogs to a 46-20 dual meet win over No. 2 Merrillville.
"My coaches told me to never give up; even when you're down, keep fighting," said Blue, who improved to 11-3 on the season. "I just made (Jara) move where I wanted him to move. I knew I was in better shape than him, and like coach (Scott Vlink) told me before the meet ‘Have faith in your training and have faith in your conditioning,' and I did. I came out on top."
The Bulldogs are currently ranked No. 1 in the state by IndianaMat.com, while Merrillville (13-1, 5-1 DAC) is No. 5. The Times No. 1 C.P. (14-4, 4-0 DAC) backed up its ranking as Blue's win was followed by four consecutive victories, including a forfeit at 145 when Merrillville's Javier Avalos was bumped up to 152 to face Josh Flamme instead of facing returning state champ Eric Roach.
Those four-straight wins gave Crown Point a commanding 42-8 lead at the time.
"You just can't give up points there," Vlink said of Blue's comeback win. "You've just got to score next and keep trying to score. We figured once we got to 130, (Merrillville) was going to have a hard time."
Josh Fuqua (103, 20-0), Jason Tsirtsis (140, 20-0) and Roach (20-0) all remained perfect for the Bulldogs. Tyler Kral (215, 20-0) also remained unblemished when he was bumped up to heavyweight and defeated Merrillville's Michael Nickson 9-0, who also went up a class from 215.
Merrillville's Adam Garcia (119), Al Padilla (130), Travis Norman (171) and Darryl Peppers (189) all won their matches while Kourtney Berry was bumped up from 189 to 215, a match the Pirates took via forfeit.
Overall, Merrillville coach David Maldonado sees the meet as an excellent measuring stick while some of his wrestlers continue to heal up for the postseason.
"We're against with wall right now with injuries here and there," he said. "We're not where we need to be. We were hoping to get a little bit more from some of these guys, but we're still in there. We've got about three weeks until sectionals and we'll go from there."