INDIANAPOLIS — As the wrestling postseason started four weeks ago, teams and individuals were whittled down one by one. Five county wrestlers advanced from a total of seven on Friday night into the final day of the 75th Annual IHSAA Wrestling State Finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse last night.
In the end, only one was left standing at the top of the podium; Danville’s Neal Molloy.
This was the second time in Molloy’s prep career that he has occupied that spot — the first coming in his sophomore year — and the victory was certainly a little more than satisfying to the outgoing 145-pound senior.
“It felt real good to finish on top,” Molloy said smiling. “Having all of these people around me makes it great. The town of Danville is behind me and it just feels awesome.”
For Danville coach Steve Pugliese, the ride with Molloy over the past four years has been a wild one and culminated with a gripping end in their final bout together.
“The match was a little more exciting than I wanted it, but winning never gets old,” Pugliese said. “I don’t know that I can put it into words.”
Leading 4-3, Molloy appeared to have possibly given up a takedown to Yorktown's Eli Walker in the closing seconds of the third period. As the two wrestlers stood on the mat awaiting the official outcome, it was finally ruled time had expired before the possibility of a takedown could be considered according to Pugliese.
While Molloy led all Hendricks County wrestlers on the weekend, his teammates Brayden Montgomery and Brock Hudkins also came away with hardware.
Hudkins, a freshman, took fifth place, losing only to the eventual state runner-up in a loss that is likely to stick with him for a while. In the wrestleback rounds, Hudkins convincingly defeated the state’s No. 2 and No. 3-ranked 106-pound wrestlers to earn his spot on the podium.