PORTAGE — Cole Cervantes finally got it done.
“I’ve always gotten second, third, but it’s better on top — in first,” said Cervantes after the Griffith senior won the 152-pound match over Hobart sophomore Tyler Turley on Saturday at the Portage Sectional.
Cervantes said he placed second at 126 as a freshman, third at 132 as a sophomore and second at 138 as a junior.
He said transitioning to move after move and to not stop wrestling has been the key to his success this season, as he’s compiled a 33-2 mark.
“Just going from one move to another and keep it going,” he said.
“We worked a lot on that over the summer,” Griffith coach Adam Garcia said. “That’s actually one of the big differences from last year to this year. We’re learning and we’re focusing not to stop wrestling, to always keep moving our feet. Going from one move to the next, chain wrestling, transitioning. That’s real big at this level, especially when you’re talking about postseason.”
In the third period of the championship match, Cervantes got a late takedown to secure the a 7-3 win. He’s faced Turley eight times over the past two years and is 3-1 against him this season.
“They’re always good matches,” he said.
Garcia said Cervantes’ win was a big boost.
“It was big for his confidence going into the next tournament,” he said.
Now the goal is to make it down to state, something the soft-spoken Cervantes has dreamed of since he started wrestling when he was 5.
“Get on that podium, that’s my goal, place at state,” he said.
It’s something Garcia said Cervantes can accomplish.
“He’s a hard worker, and he comes to practice, he shows up to work,” he said. “That’s the kind of mentality I feel like you need to be winner. … He trains hard, and his endurance is up.”
Cervantes said he’s also received some pointers from assistant coach Jeremiah Reitz, who was a state runner-up for Griffith in 2016 and finished fifth as a senior in 2017.
“He’s helping me a lot,” Cervantes said. “... I’ve always wanted to wrestle for Griffith.”