CALUMET TWP. — A couple of Portage wrestlers won marquee matchups at Saturday’s Chris Traicoff Memorial Invitational Saturday at Calumet.
Senior Jacob Moran won a matchup of wrestlers ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in the state when he beat Cathedral freshman Zeke Seltzer at 113 pounds.
Moran won 7-4.
“I looked forward to it all week, wrestling a kid the caliber (of Seltzer). He’s very talented,” Moran said. “I know that if my hands and feet are moving and I’m on my game, no one can beat me.”
The two wrestled in September, Moran said. He won that match 4-3.
“I made some adjustments and it was a lot better this time,” Moran said. “This was marked on my schedule. I knew this was going to be my first big match of the season.”
D.J. Washington, Portage’s 160-pound senior, also beat the No. 2 ranked wrestler in the state when he topped Cathedral’s Jordan Slivka 8-3.
Washington has wrestled at 170 this season and cut to 160 for two of five matches Saturday.
“That first initial cut to 160 had me tired,” he said. “Overall, I’m happy with my day.”
Washington earned a couple takedowns and rode out the victory against Slivka. The last time he wrestled Slivka was in last season’s Traicoff event.
Slivka was the state champion at 145 pounds last year.
“I’m not really focusing on the state on the state-level much. I’m just trying to prepare myself for the next level (at Indiana Universtiy),” Washington said. “I’ve had my ups and downs at state.”
Both Moran and Washington were 5-0 on the day. The Indians were 4-1 as a team, losing to returning state champion and No. 1-ranked Cathedral in the final round of the day.
Fowler pins four: Calumet’s A.J. Fowler had a big day for the host Warriors.
The senior was 5-0 with four pins and a tech fall. He said he knew nothing about any of his opponents when he walked into the gym.
“I don’t really pay attention to any of that. I just go wrestle,” Fowler said. “I don’t really care who I’m going to wrestle against. I just want to wrestle my match. I don’t even care about who’s ranked or whatever.”
Fowler’s ranked No. 3 at 220 pounds by Indiana Mat.
He said it means more for a Calumet wrestler to win at the Traicoff.
“It took until about 11:30 last night to set it up so I might as well go and win,” Fowler said. “I haven’t seen any of these guys so it’s good seeing them before the state series. I don’t really get to see who I’ll be wrestling against earlier in the season.”
Peele earns big win after Wabash commitment: Brock Peele committed to Wabash College just over a week ago.
“I wanted to find a balance where I could focus on both academics and wrestling,” the Portage senior said. “Obviously, they’re a very successful program. I just think I’d be best suited to win a national title there.”
Peele beat Cathedral’s Lukasz Walendzak 3-2. Both are ranked in the top 10 in at 126 pounds.
“I knew that he’s just as strong as I am,” Peele said. “Usually, that’s one of my strengths is to be a little bit stronger and a little bit bigger. Today I had to focus on my technique.”
Crown Point goes 4-1: Crown Point only lost to Franklin, as a team. The Bulldogs beat Floyd Central, South Bend Riley, Westfield and Calumet.
“We’re young in experience. We’re young in age,” coach Branden Lorek said. “We need to focus on putting a whole match together. We were doing some good things and then we take a step backwards. Unfortunately, those steps have been match killers for us.”
Crown Point schedule events like the Traicoff for a reason, Lorek said.
“You get to the state series, the longer you go the harder it gets. But you like to have a competitive schedule so your guys are tested,” Lorek said. “We’ve got guys that want to win, that are hungry. We’ve just got to put it all together.”
Jesse Mendez went 5-0 at 126 pounds for the Bulldogs.