The 138-pound title match at Saturday's Crown Point Sectional got the Lake Central team excited.
Cristian Ponce bettered his record to 31-5 with a pin of Crown Point’s Collin Taylor at 5:15.
“I’m still in a little bit of shock but it feels good right now,” Ponce said. “Throughout the second period, I was losing and he was beating up on me quite a bit. It was getting into my head and I wasn’t wrestling at 100 percent.”
Taylor shot, Ponce got the cradle and the Indians exploded.
“Coach Luke Triveline, he put a lot into us,” Ponce said. “We’ve been going hard in the room as a team.”
Lake Central pushed 13 of 14 wrestlers into the regional, which is Saturday at Crown Point. The Indians' Eddie Alonso also was an individual champ at 220.
Diaz wants more
Wheeler junior Giovanni Diaz cruised to the 113-pound title with an 11-0 major decision over Crown Point’s Nick Tattini. But he’s not satisfied.
“I want to take it to the next level,” Diaz said. “I’m still not there, yet.”
It’s the second sectional blue ribbon for Diaz, who finished eighth in the state at 106 pounds last season.
“I want to win state, get that state title, be Wheeler’s first state champion,” Diaz said. “If I come up short and I work my hardest, I’ll get back at it next year. But I don’t want to come up short.”
Moreno seeing clearly
Lowell senior Andres Moreno won the 132-pound final with a pin of Crown Point’s Jacob Carter at 1:17 to extend his record to 21-0. He missed a portion of the season with an eye injury, including the prestigious Al Smith Invitational and the Lake County tournament.
“I wanted to go out there and make sure my conditioning was where it’s at to be at state,” Moreno said. “I felt good. After a couple takedowns, I just felt like, ‘I know where I’m at and I’m just going to get it done with.’”
Moreno finished seventh at 113 pounds in 2018. It’s his second sectional championship.
Other individual champions included Stephen Roberson (106), Jesse Mendez (126) and Ethan Potosky (195) for Crown Point. Abel Verbeek (160), Richard Bisping (182) and Chandler Austgen (285) took home blue ribbons for Lowell. Isaiah Mohmed won the 152-pound title for Wheeler and Aiden Sneed won the 170-pound championship for Kankakee Valley.
Fowler paces Calumet
Calumet senior 220-pounder A.J. Fowler made quick work of Hobart’s Mark Mummy with a fall in 1:43 to win the title at the Portage Sectional and improve to 33-1.
“I knew I was going to have to come over here and attack ...” Fowler said. “I need to get in better shape to get a farther run in the state tournament.”
Along with Keiloun Martin’s win at 285, Fowler helped the Warriors finish third with 174 points. Noah Frazier (126), Kaleb Ellingham (160) and Aaron Lizardi (195) all placed third.
“It’s reassuring to get third around Highland and more of the bigger schools in our area because we’re a small school, and we’ve not had a lot of great wrestlers in the past couple of years,” said Fowler, who was a state qualifier last year. “It’s nice to see we’re starting to rebuild our team, especially with all the young guys down there.”
Portage took first (287.5 points), Hobart was second (255.5), Griffith took fourth (135.5) and Highland was fifth (130).