CROWN POINT — Ewan Donovan needed to lose.
The Hebron senior finished the regular season undefeated, ranked No. 2 in the state at 195 pounds by Indiana Mat.
But Crown Point’s Ethan Potosky pinned him in the sectional final. Donovan admits he was sick, missing four practices in the previous week with strep throat.
“That was a rough one,” Donovan said. “That first period slam he got on me, it was just a rough week. I just trained hard over this week and made a comeback.”
At the same time, he needed it.
“I’m definitely glad I got that loss under my belt,” Donovan said. “Everybody needs to be beat sometimes. You don’t get better until you’re beat. It taught me a lesson and got me ready for the rest of the series.”
The two wrestlers, who are friends and wrestle together in the offseason, met again in Saturday’s regional final. This time, Donovan controlled the match from the start and took a major decision, 14-5.
“That was my motivation all week. I just kept picturing myself losing,” he said.
Hawks coach Todd Adamczyk said finding ways to motivate his senior star haven’t been necessary. He’s been coaching the Donovan since the now 195-pounder was coming to practice after elementary school.
“He’s a great kid, a hard-working kid,” Adamczyk said. “He’s the kind of kid you’d let date your daughter.”
Donovan qualifies for the semistate for the second-straight season, but even pushing beyond that isn’t enough this year.
“I’m definitely ready to make some noise,” he said. “I’m aiming for the state championship match, first or second place. But my biggest thing is I want to make it to Saturday (at the state finals), top eight in the state. I’d be content if I had to, but I’m really aiming for first place.”
Adamczyk agreed that the podium is the expectation.
“He’s finding the right position at the right time. It’s something we’ve worked with for years,” Adamczyk said. “It’s been an honor and a privilege to coach that kid all these years.”