A silver lining
La PORTE — For Nico Torres, this is his last opportunity to advance out of the sectional. He’s striving to make the most of it.
After not making it past the sectional round of the postseason his previous three years of high school, La Porte’s senior grappler is shooting for this season as the time when he breaks through and makes it to at least the regional.
He began the dual-meet season in fine fashion, earning a pin over Crown Point’s Matt Brittingham at 285 pounds on Wednesday night.
While Torres’ performance wasn’t enough for the Slicers, as they fell 44-29 to the stingy Bulldogs in both teams’ Duneland Athletic Conference opener, he’s hoping it’s just the start of something special for himself and his teammates.
“It’s my senior year and I’m just getting better every single day,” Torres said. “I’m looking forward to making it out of the sectional this year.”
Torres added he was happy to aid his squad’s quick start and point out to the younger wrestlers what it takes to be successful.
“We have a lot of underclassmen in our lineup,” Torres said. “So just going out there and picking up the win, showing them how to work hard and win your match.”
Torres helped La Porte (4-6, 0-1 DAC) jump ahead 6-0 over Crown Point (1-0, 1-0 DAC), a perennial power, with his third-period pin.
“Nico is one of those guys who needs to start delivering pressure and today he did,” Slicers coach Louie Kuzdas said. “He was putting the pressure on the Crown Point kid. We had him backing up a little bit more. Pulling the trigger is something else we’ve got to work on. You don’t want heavyweights shooting too much. But again, when you do something, you have to do it 100 percent.”
Torres pinned Brittingham with a typical move of his.
“I pinned him with a spiral half, I had a spiral half in there,” Torres said. “I locked it in tight and just pinned him.
“It feels great starting us off with six points.”
In addition to Torres, La Porte’s Noah Perez, Jaden Browder and Will Stone tallied pins.
Perez pinned Matt Woods in the 182-pound weight division, while the sophomore Browder beat Matt McElroy by fall at 195 pounds. Stone notched a pin in the 220-pound weight class over Frank Keller.
Another Slicer, Tyson Nisley, cruised by major decision, 15-0, over Chris Garmon at 138 pounds.
Those victories weren’t enough for the home team, though, who ended up getting pinned six times.
“We knew they were going to be solid where we weren’t,” Kuzdas said. “We’ve got some young kids out there. So we brushed the dirt off. We tell our kids, ‘This is the level we’re trying to get to.’”
La Porte’s junior varsity prevailed 36-29.
The Slicers next host an invitational on Saturday at 9 a.m. and will face Merrillville in a DAC meet as part of the invitational.
Crown Point 44, La Porte 29
Nico Torres, Noah Perez, Jaden Browder and Will Stone earned pins for the Slicers.