The excitement was high and the stands were full at Hobart High School as friends, families, and fans joined together for the IHSAA Mens’ Wrestling Regional Championship.
Mark Maldonado, wrestling coach for Highland High School describes his wrestlers as a team “on the rise.”
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“We’ve got a lot of young guys. We’re rebuilding right now. We’re junior-loaded, but next year, we should be fine,” Maldonado said, adding that the recent polar vortex had little effect on his team’s practice schedule.
“We had a lot of closings this week but our athletic director opened the building, so we were still able to get in most of the week for practice, despite the weather,” Maldonado said. “We have four wrestlers here today. We like our chances and we’re looking to come here and maybe do some damage here today.”
However, Assistant Wrestling Coach at Hobart High School, Steve Balash, said that the weather was an issue for his team.
“Unfortunately, school was closed for most of the week, so we were only able to get two practices in,” Balash said. “But we’re 15-1, so we’re having a pretty good year.”
“We’ve got some good schools here. Merrillville, Portage, Hammond Gavit. We’ve got some really good schools here today, so it should be a pretty good match,” Balash continued.
Mark Flores, 51, of Gary, Indiana came out to support his son Mark, who wrestled in the 186 lb weight class.
“He did good! He’s headed to semi-state now,” Flores said. “There have been a lot of good matches here today. Lots of good sportsmanship, lots of good kids.”
Marianne Mummey of Hobart attended with her son, Mark Mummey.
“He’s been wrestling since he was seven,” Mummey said. “He’s a junior now. He just got bumped up to the 220 class and he did awesome here today. I’m so proud of him. He did great!”
Over 80 wrestlers hit the mats at the meet, each one vying for a chance to go to semi-state. The top four finishers from each weight class were granted the go-ahead to advance to the state meet.
The first place finisher in the 285 lb weight class was Anthony Atria of Merrillville.
“I had a plan going in,”Atris said. “I wanted to attack elbows and underhooks. I stuck to my plan and the match turned out just how I wanted.”
Atria expressed great respect for his opponent, Keilhoun Martin, of Calumet.
“I’ve wrestled him a few times before, and this time he fought me a lot harder. He’s getting better every year.”
When the dust finally settled, it was the Merrillville Pirates who claimed the title of Regional Champions with 229 points overall. Second place went to Portage with 206 points. Hobart took third, with 156 points.
The top finishers in each weight class were:
106 Pound Weight Class
1st - Malik Hall, Merrillville
2nd - Ruben Padilla, Hobart
3rd - Raquan Perry, Portage
4th - Jeffery Bailey, River Forest
113 Pound Weight Class
1st - Jacob Moran, Portage
2nd - Martin Cruz, Merrillville
3rd - Andres Russi, Lake Station
4th - Trevor Schammert, Hobart
120 Pound Weight Class
1st -Ty Haskins, Portage
2nd - Cristian Padilla, Hobart
3rd - Benicio Cuevas, Merrillville
4th - Elijah Walls, Hammond Clark
126 Pound Weight Class
1st - Brock Peele, Portage
2nd - Nathan Schammert, Hobart
3rd - Juan Maldonado, Merrillville
4th - Juan Simpson, Hammond Gavit
132 Pound Weight Class
1st - Ricky Hegedus, Portage
2nd - Reese Rodriguez, Hammond Morton
3rd - Aleksandar Pejovski, Merrillville
4th - Adam Ahmad, Highland
138 Pound Weight Class
1st - Anthony Rivera, Merrillville
2nd - Tyler Herring, Portage
3rd - Daniel Mora-Diaz, Hammond Clark
145 Pound Weight Class
1st - Jacob Maldonado, Merrillville
2nd - Isaiah Watts, Hammond Morton
3rd - Isaac Hegwood, Portage
4th - Mathew Honeycutt, Whiting
152 Pound Weight Class
1st - Cole Cervantes, Griffith
2nd - Tyler Turley, Hobart
3rd - Jacob Beehn, Hammond Morton
4th - Devin Pope, Merrillville
160 Pound Weight Class
1st - Donnell Washington, Portage
2nd - Jaymiere Johnson, Hammond Gavit
3rd - Jacob Simpson, Hobart
4th - Elijah Sandridge, Merrillville
170 Pound Weight Class
1st - Josh Warmick, Portage
2nd - Jason Streck, Merrillville
3rd - Jacob Vode, Hobart
4th - Aaron Stewart, Lake Station Edison
182 Pound Weight Class
1st - Khris Walton, Merrillville
2nd - Cameron Smith, Hobart
3rd - Mark Flores, Calumet
4th - Gabriel Campos, Griffith
195 Pound Weight Class
1st - Bobby Babcock, Hobart
2nd - Seyi Akinwumi, Merrillville
3rd - Justin Bogner, Highland
4th - Jonah Clark, Munster
220 Pound Weight Class
1st - Drew Bailey, Merrillville
2nd - Arthur Fowler, Calumet
3d - Damari Dancy, Portage
4th - Mark Mummey, Hobart
285 Pound Weight Class
1st - Anthony Atria, Merrillville
2nd - Keiloun Martin, Calumet
3rd - Chad McLean, Hobart
4th - Cory Hill, Portage