Karl Hungus Among Us Traicoff Recap
Cavemen Pass Mid-Season Test
CALUMET: Some of Indiana's best wrestling programs as well as fifty ranked individuals took their annual migration northwest to '˜da region' to participate in a sixteen team mid-season meat grinder of a wrestling tournament. The Chris Traicoff Memorial Invitational held yesterday in the Calumet Fieldhouse lived up to its billing as the "Premier dual meet tournament in the state of Indiana." The competition was so tough that a defending state and national champion (Cathedral's Brandon Wright) ended his day with a 3-2 record. The day was surely grueling for all involved, but that is just the type of atmosphere in which the Mishawaka Cavemen seem to thrive as they aced this semester exam by going 5-0 on the day, defeating Crown Point 39-28 in round 5.
The format for the Traicoff had top seeds (Mishawaka, Crown Point, Cathedral, and Lawrence North) meeting in round robin action after each dispatched their first two round opponents. Although the top four teams separated themselves fairly easily, that did not mean there were not some upsets of note in the early going.
Most notably was young #13 ranked 103 pounder Brian Harvey of Cathedral defeating second ranked Dustin Keif of Franklin 8-4. With the score 2-2 after the first period, Harvey rode Keif the entire 2nd period. Keif chose the optional start for the third period, giving Harvey a slim 3-2 lead. On their feet, Harvey caught Keif in a firemans dump that became a 5 point move when Harvey held Keif in nearfall position. Keif reversed Harvey late in the third to provide the final score (8-4). Another upset occurred at the 145 lb. class where #10 ranked Chris Almarez of Highland relied on strong leg work to protect his 4-2 lead, riding #3 Gavin McGinley of Cathedral for nearly all of the third period. McGinley finally did shake himself free with 15 seconds remaining in the third, but last year's 3rd place finisher at state did not have enough time to attempt a solid takedown, ensuring a 4-3 victory for Amarez. One final minor upset occurred at 189, where Portage's Kyle Keith turned Mishawaka's #13 Dustin Boyd in the third period to earn a hard fought 5-4 victory.
The first set of duals in the winner's bracket had Lawrence North taking on Mishawaka and Crown Point brawling with Cathedral. The Irish had early momentum when #3 Gavin McGinley stacked up #12 Nick Bruno for the fall midway through the second period. Cathedral earned a major decision at 152 to take an early 10-0 lead. CP's senior leader #2 Mark Myers righted the Bulldog ship by snatching two takedowns and utilizing a tight crossface ride for most of the match to defeat #11 Tyler Willis of Cathedral. A turning point for Crown Point occurred at 215 where the Bulldog's Jim Bakalik came back from a 4-2 deficit to wear down Cathedral's Jake Buchanan. Bakalik obviously filled up the gas tank before leaving as he hustled and scrambled his way to a 7-4 victory. In another battle of ranked opponents, Cathedral's #13 Brain Harvey defeated his second ranked opponent, #10 Cameron Halsted, 1-0. In a marquee match-up at 125, defending state champ and second ranked Brandon Wright of Cathedral squared off against Indiana wrestling royalty, freshman #3 Jason Tsirtsis of Crown Point. In the first period Tsirtsis used a snap down, duck under to a single in which he finished nicely. Tsirtsis led 2-0 after one period. Wright came back to tie the match with a lightning quick switch on the whistle to begin the second period. Tsirtsis then escaped to take a narrow 3-2 lead heading into the third. Tsirtsis extended his lead to 5-2 in the third before giving up a takedown to narrow the score to 5-4. Tsirtsis escaped to finish off the scoring at 6-4. Not to be outdone, Cathedral's #4 John Grey staged a thrilling overtime victory over #9 Dallas Schurg, 3-2. At 135 Crown Point's #1 Eric Roach was very impressive in turning #9 Dominic Corsano with a variety of tilts and wings to earn a technical fall at 16-0. Roach's victory sealed the team victory as well, 29-22.
In the match-up of Mishawaka and Lawrence North, the Caveman used their depth to rest a couple of their starters in defeating the Wildcats, 38-25. The only contest matching ranked wrestlers had #7 Bryce Grimes of LN utilizing a number of low singles and double leg takedowns to defeat #13 Joey Smith, 10-2.
Second round highlights included #11 Tyler Willis of Cathedral winning an entertaining match over Richard Morin of Mishawaka. #3 Anthony Hawkins of Crown Point gave up a 3 point lead to #2 Brandon Nelson of Lawrence North in the third only to cut Nelson in the thirty second overtime period and then take down Nelson to win. #1 Josh Harper of Mishawaka wrestled his first match of the day against the Irish's #4 John Grey and showed no rust in a dominating 16-0 technical fall. In marquee match-up number 2, freshman Jason Tsirtsis had another opportunity to defeat a defending state champ when he squared off with #1 Cashe Quiroga. The first period was scoreless, Tsirtsis escaped and as they were on their feet Quiroga locked up and threw an upper body toss to take the lead 2-1. Tsirtsis escaped in the second to even the match 2-2. In the third Quiroga escaped, and deftly countered numerous takedown attempts to win 3-2. Finally, in another bout matching up two heavy hitters, #1 Steve Sandefer of Mishawaka utilized a slick ankle pick to defeat #2 Tony McGinley by the score of 3-2. Coincidently, this was exactly the same margin Sandefer had in his victory over McGinley in last years state semi-final match. Second round match scores in the championship bracket: MHS 29 CATH 23, CP 42 LN 13.
The championship match pitted the top two seeds, #1 Mishawaka versus #2 Crown Point in a battle where 19 ranked wrestlers would pound it out on the mat to see who would be an early favorite to take home the team hardware in February. The match started at 160 and CP's #2 Mark Myers used 3 takedowns and a nearfall to post a major decision against Richard Morin. #13 Joey Smith gutted out a tough 8-5 victory over CP's Jeremy Kooi. Smith was wrestling on a knee that he tweaked earlier in the day and was visibly in pain through much of the match but was able to ignore it enough to earn 3 team points for the Cavemen. At 189, #1 ranked Marcus Shrewsbury of Crown Point capped of a phenomenal day in which he was never really tested by turning #13 Dustin Boyd with an arm bar and collecting a pin in 1:55. Mishawaka took control of the match with victories at 215, 285 and 103. Most surprising of these was Mishawaka's 103 Taylor Wisler running a wing and pinning the Bulldog's #10 Cameron Halstead just :59 into the first period. Wisler, a relative unknown statewide, will no doubt be force to reckoned with come February. At 112, CP's #3 Anthony Hawkins garnered his second exciting overtime victory, defeating the pesky Paul Beck 7-6. The Cavemen's #16 Matt Guerra posted a minor upset by defeating #10 Josh Mannes 6-4. Guerra is not flashy but is extremely tough on his feet and he has improved his mat wrestling from a year ago. #3 Jason Tsirtsis was up next for the Bulldogs and he used a rock solid front headlock to secure 3 takedowns on Mishawaka's Nick Schrader through two periods. Schrader fought gamely to stay off his back but succumbed to hard half nelson and was pinned at 4:32. A relatively fresh Josh Harper of Mishawaka was slick on his takedown of #9 Dallas Schurg, threw legs and utilized a physical power half to turn and pin Schurg in 1:32. At 135, CP's #1 Eric Roach battled to a 5-2 victory. Next up was defending state champ Mishawaka's #1 Steve Sandefer. He put on a front headlock takedown clinic in a major decision victory over #14 Josh Flamme. Sandefer's victory secured the team title for the Cavemen. The Cavemen split the last two matches with Mishawaka's Alex White defeating #12 Nich Bruno 6-3 and Crown Point's Jeremy Pogorzelski receiving an injury default over # 16 Tim Forte making the final score 39-28.
It should be noted that the Traicoff Invite not only pits numerous first-class Indiana high school wrestlers in action but also was an opportunity to see a set of first-class referees work. Men like Chuck Barnett, Mike Faulkner, Dan McCartney, Jim Hoover, Barry Woodward, Bart Welch, Chris Conlisk, Tim Servies, Craig Bultemeier, and 21 Traicoff veteran Mike Golando work awfully hard multiple nights of the week and give up their weekends to provide outstanding officiating for our Indiana wrestlers. On a final note, a special thanks to Jim Wadkins and the staff of the Traicoff for running this event that provides us fans with such great entertainment. My only suggestion is to switch the high school to a power grid different then the one that Y2CJ41 uses. When he turns on his computer, it has been known to cause brown outs throughout the Midwest. (You had to be there to get that lame attempt at a joke)