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Crown Point Regional

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The Crown Point regional usually distinguishes itself as one of the better in the state, headlined by the 6 Duneland schools. The DAC had a bit of a down year, however, as Chesterton and Valparaiso both had relatively down squads this year. Wheeler, Hanover Central, and Lowell always have a few wrestlers in the mix...and this year is no different.
Teams entered:

Boone Grove Chesterton Crown Point Glenn Hanover Central Hebron 
Kankakee Valley Knox Lake Central LaPorte Lowell Michigan City 
New Prairie North Judson-San Pierre Valparaiso Wheeler 

Handicapping the first few classes...

106 - Stephen Roberson (28-2) of Crown Point is certainly the man to beat in this weight class. He has been steady in the top 2 or 3 in the EC SS, and will be the highest ranked wrestler in the field. His biggest challengers will likely be familiar foe as his Duneland counterparts litter the field. Roberson opens with the only other non-frosh as he faces off with fellow sophomore Nathan May (28-10), who presents as relatively tough 4 v 1 match-up. Look for a second round match with promising Chesterton frosh Luke Stento (26-11) and a rematch with EC SS #8 Johnny Cortez (27-10) of Lake Central whom Roberson has beaten comfortably twice, once by 1st-rd fall. Roberson's two losses are both to title contenders as he fell 7-2 to state #1 Alex Cottey of Perry Meridian and a 5-1 loss to state #4 Suhas Chundi of Carmel.

3rd place will likely be a match betwixt Stento and Valparaiso frosh Stefan Vitello (24-12), though Vitello probably has the toughest test in his first round match as he faces off with Austin Motyka (20-5) of Kankakee Valley in a 4 v 1 match.. Vitello had a heckuva turnaround after he fell to a tough 5th place finish in the DAC championships, at which he lost a barn-burner 10-9 vs Cortez in the semis and followed that with a harsh 11-2 loss to Stento. He would finish off the day on a high note, beating fellow CP regional contestant Brecken Joseph (16-14) of LaPorte, who gets Cortez 1st round. Vitello would turn all that around at the LaPorte sectional. His two second round pins were impressive, first beating May in the semis then avenging the loss to Stento emphatically with the fall. Looking forward to the potential rematch that would likely be for a coveted 3rd seed to avoid a number 1 seed hammer at SS.

113 - This is another class with a top contender that separates himself from the field, this time being Giovanni Diaz (28-1) of Wheeler, #4 State #2 EC SS. Diaz placed 8th last year at state at 106 and has had another tremendous year, with his only loss being to 120 EC SS #1 Riley Bettich of Crown Point by a score of 3-1. His 1st round match-up will be of zero excitement as he draws one of the two forfeits of the 1st round along with Nick Tattini (27-9) of Crown Point, who gets a bye even as a #2 seed because the LaPorte sectional had just two participants at 113 pounds. Tattni will likely face off with Chris Merrill (33-9) of Chesterton, who does draw a pretty tough #4 seed in upstart sophomore Michael Denvit (21-5) of Kankakee Valley. Still that's a tall order for Denvit to knock off the senior Merrill, who won the LP sectional with a 51 second pin of Dusty Young (29-14) of New Prairie. Young will get a tough #3 seed in Isaiah Ponce (22-12) of Lake Central, and I don't figure Young survives in that matchup as Ponce has wrestled a tough schedule and owns a couple good wins.

At the Al Smith, a great midseason barometer, Zeke Seltzer of Cathedral rose to the occasion and knocked out several of the CP regional participants. He drew Ponce in the 2nd round and won by fall in 3:08. He would see Merrill the very next round and proceeded to win by tech fall 18-3. Seltzer would win it all over Martin Cruz of Merrillville, and Cruz is right back at it with the other top contender Jacob Moran of Portage at the Hobart regional. Most rankings have Moran as #1 and Seltzer #2 and then Diaz at #4 so this will be a great class to watch at the EC SS, even with Seltzer being at New Castle for SS I believe. Nick Tattini would fall in the 2nd round of the Al Smith, dropping it 4-2 to EC SS #6 Brodie Fogarty of Mishawaka. Fogarty would lose by a 54 second fall the next round to Cruz. 

So look for Merrill-Tattini and Ponce-Diaz in the 2nd round. At the DAC tournament, we would get a lot of key matchups that factor into play. Ponce would knock off Tattini in the 1st round 9-0, before losing to Cruz next round 14-5. Moran would beat Cruz 10-4 in the finals. Moran reached the finals by beating Merrill by fall in 3:14. In the consolations, Ponce would win fairly big over Merrill 21-10 before falling to Tattini 4-0. All three of the contenders are capable of an upset but I think Diaz is at another level. What will be interesting is who he gets to face in the final. Merrill beat Tattini in a 5-3 decision on Dec 6th, and with Merrill being a senior and Tattini a frosh we definitely have an experience factor. I like Tattini to bounce back here as I like how he has been wrestling, though Diaz did handle him in the sectional final by a score of 11-0. Merrill would have to reverse that big 21-10 loss in conference tourney vs Ponce to take the valued #3 spot. I'm not sure he totally turns it around, and I'll take Ponce as my 3rd place. 

120 - This will be a tale of two wrestlers who are quite familar with each other in conference rivals #3 state/#1 SS Riley Bettich (30-1) of Crown Point and #13 state/#3 SS Danny Tolin (33-3) of Chesterton. These two did just face off recently for the DAC conference title, with Bettich winning by fall in the second period. They also share a similar loss at the Al Smith in foe Zeke Seltzer who defeated by way of a fall in 2:39, and then knocked off Bettich in the championship by virtue of a 7-2 SV decision.  Neither has a particularly tall task as both face #4 seeds with losing records. Matt Adamczyk (24-3) of Hebron opens up the day vs LaPorte sectional runner up Jacob Abbott (10-6) of New Prairie, which figures to be a decent first round match although I like Adamczyk to advance to face off against Bettich. Abbott was dispatched off quickly in the LP sectional final as Tolin needed just 10 seconds for the stick, so he will look to bounce back as an underdog at the two seed. Adamczyk had a tough sectional semifinal that saw him elect to injury default in the second period against fellow regional participant Sebastian Cortez (24-9) of Lake Central, who opens up with LaPorte soph Angillo Mitchell (11-17). 

I think Bettich will be a tall order for Tolin to knock off for the upset, this time of year anything could happen but it looks like Bettich is peaking at the right time and likely takes this one rather easily. I foresee a bit more drama in the 3rd place match with Adamczyk and Cortez as we will get another chance to see how the match plays out in its entirety, while also taking into account Adamczyk may be contending with an injury of some sort. Have to go with Cortez with that being said.

126 - This class will feature one of the top wrestlers in the state pound for pound, and this kid dynamite is only a freshman in Crown Point's (31-0) Jesse Mendez. He has come in with a lot of fanfare and the kid has done nothing but deliver and live up to the hype. One feather is his cap was certainly the Al Smith where he punctuated his championship by knocking off state #3  senior Hunter Watts of JImtown by a score of 5-2. In case you forgot Watts is the defending champion at 120 pounds, not to mention his 2nd place finish as a soph at 113 and 6th place finish as a frosh at 106. Mendez is the real deal and I thought his semifinal tech fall victory at the Al Smith was equally impressive over state #7/ SS #2 Logan Wagner of ZIonsville. Those were huge victories for the frosh and he has continued that momentum all the way through sectionals last week, where he dispatched of two fellow CP regional participants by beating Roger Anda (14-16) of Boone Grove by fall in just :50 and then taking out Ryan Russell (17-11) of Lake Central in the finals by fall in 1:15. 

J.J. Blount (20-11) of North Judson is the unlucky soul that gets Mendez 1st round. The match-up that figures to be Mendez's opponent in the semis could be a more intriguing bout though I'm expecting sophomore Brandon Bolin (28-14) of Chesterton will be favored to win over Hanover Central's frosh Skylar Iverson (15-14). Iverson lost a quick decision by fall to Russell in just 22 seconds at the CP sectional, but did rebound for 3rd by pinning Anda in 3:53. On the other side of the bracket LaPorte sectional champion Jak Krouse (22-9) of Valparaiso will open with Anda while Russell faces off with Christian Szalajko (29-10) of New Prairie. Look for a rematch between the DAC foes Krouse and Russell, who faced off for 5th place at the DAC championships with Russell coming away with a 7-3 victory. I'll stick by that result and predict Russell into the finals to be fodder for a Mendez championship. If those predictions hold up that would set up a 3rd place match between Bolin and Krouse, which would be a rematch of the sectional championship which Krouse must have won at the buzzer as it shows his fall coming at exactly 6:00. It should be noted that at the DAC conference meet Chesterton had a reserve wrestling at 126 in junior Ethan Mahaffey (6-3 entering the DAC meet), and Mahaffey had a pretty strong day and ended up finishing 4th. En route to this finish he would upset Russell 9-8 in the 1st round before falling in the semis by pin in just 20 seconds by the hammer that is Brock Peele of Portage. Mendez would beat Peele 6-0, btw, for the DAC title. Mahaffey would also score another upset by beating Krouse 6-0 to reach the 3rd place match.

132 - Another top heavy class, heavy hitter senior Andres Moreno (21-0) of Lowell will certainly be the man to beat. The state #6/SS #2, who placed 7th at 113, does have some injury concerns this year however...which came to a head at the Al Smith forcing Moreno to medically forfeit the highly anticipated match with state #3 Matt Gimson of Jimtown. Not sure what the injury is but hopefully Moreno is at or near 100 % this week, although I don't think Moreno will be seriously challenged this week...but Wawasee's Geremia Brooks (state #4) and Ricky Hegedus (state #10) of Portage will prove to be everything Moreno can handle at the EC SS. Looking to the semifinals, Moreno should cruise in facing an over-matched frosh Jack Madsen (12-18) of North Judson where he will face the winner of one of the better 1st round match-ups of the regional as a pair of seniors face off in Ben Bosold (20-11) of Lake Central and SS #6 Brayden Ruiz of New Prairie. The LaPorte sectional would feature a 2nd place finish for Ruiz, as he fell to Ethan Kaiser (29-11) of Chesterton by a 13-8 decision. Noteworthy is the DAC tournament here, as Kaiser didn't fare so well losing a match to Bosold in the consolation semis by fall in 1:54 before securing 5th place over fellow regional participant Jacob Dewes (20-16) of LaPorte by fall in 1:54.

A bit of a wrench for handicapping this weight class has been the change in the line-up for Crown Point, as Colin Taylor has been ranked #8 or so in SS at this weight and also participated at Al Smith for his weight. However for the tournament it appears Taylor has moved up to 138 and opened the door for part time varsity starter Jacob Carter (14-6) to fill the 132 spot for CP. Carter would make the most of this opportunity, scoring a big semifinal win over Bosold by fall in 2:58 before falling in the finals to Moreno, also by fall in 1:17. Carter will draw Dewes in the first round and I have him moving on to meet Kaiser in the semifinals, who will need to beat Damian Ruoff (19-19) of Wheeler to get there. In the DAC semifinals, Kaiser would drop a 7-3 decision to Taylor so I really think we have a true toss up match here. I'm going to go with Kaiser after he rides the momentum of the LP sectional title. In the 3rd place match I have Carter rebounding to score a 3rd place finish over Ruiz of New Prairie.

Will continue my research and handicap another handful tomorrow.

Edited by Silvertone1696

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Littell over Tolin and Bettich not Seltzer...sorry that was my mistake bad slip there. Brayden Littell of Center Grove is every bit a top contender/thee top contender at 120. I can't edit it out now so I'm left with my mistakes. Again my bad no slight intended.


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1 hour ago, AlaskanMountie said:

120 -- Bettich and Tolin lost to Littel (CG), not Seltzer. 

Bettich lost to Seltzer in pre-season at IHPO.

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20 hours ago, AlaskanMountie said:

I don't doubt it but Silvertone's write-up indicated Bettich lost to Seltzer at the Al Smith. 

Gotcha. I wasn't disagreeing with your post, just noting where he actually lost to Seltzer.

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