CEDAR LAKE | Hanover Central would be hard pressed to find a better example for its younger wrestlers than Stevan Micic, if you take coach Nick Petrov's word for it.
"He's mild-mannered. He's a quiet leader," Petrov said. "He's done all the right things. He's a straight-A student. He gets along well with his peers. He trains hard in the offseason. I could go on and on."
Micic is the unquestioned leader for the Wildcats. That title has been passed down from some remarkable athletes.
Paul Petrov is wrestling at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania now. Before Paul Petrov, Andrew Howe laid claim to leader status for the Wildcats. Howe is currently wrestling at the University of Oklahoma.
"It's Stevan's time stepping into that role and he's doing a great job," coach Petrov said. "He knows it's his team. He knows it's his time."
Micic earned that time on the mat. He won the 106-pound state championship last year and took third at 103 the season before.
The junior also has a national championship under his belt. He won the 98-pound USAW Freestyle Cadet title in Fargo, North Dakota as a freshman. Micic took second at 113 pounds this past summer.
"It gives me a lot of motivation for next year at Fargo," Micic said. "I've got to get better, got to fix the little mistakes."
Hanover Central is young this season with only two seniors on the roster. In the past, Micic has had Paul Petrov to drive him in practice and make him better.
"Our biggest problem is challenging (Micic) in practice. He doesn't have anyone to push him this year," Nick Petrov said. "He's the leader of the room this year."
The Wildcats are ranked No. 20 in the state in the Indianamat.com power rankings and No. 10 in Class 2A in the state coaches poll.
"I want to win state again this year," Micic said. "I'd like to see some other guys (on the team) do the same thing."