“He controlled the match and some of it may have been nerves coming back to the scene of the crime,” Pugliese said. “I think that we would expect to see him put up a lot of points tomorrow morning.”
Danville’s Brayden Montgomery (152) started a bit shaky but picked up where he left off in the semistate, with dominating wrestling. Montgomery took a 10-1 major decision over Ft. Wayne Carroll’s Tristan Wilson. The win was twice as sweet as Montgomery did not advance out of the first round of the state finals last year.
“It feels awesome,” Montgomery said smiling. “I got a little shell shocked again, but I was ready for it this time and let things fall together this year and managed to come away with a victory. I’m ready for tomorrow. Now I can just wrestle to my potential. My goal was to get on the podium and hopefully that’s first place, but we’ll see.”
Avon’s Dylan Jones finished sixth last season at the state finals and enjoyed an undefeated season until last week. Jones (36-1) battled Churubusco’s Jason Nicodemus (28-3) for a 6-3 decision and another chance at a top podium finish in his senior year.
“It’s the goal every year to come back here and place,” Jones said. “It’s exciting, but the important thing is tomorrow morning. I am just going to go after it and make my opponents make mistakes and just go hard.”
First-year state qualifier Connor Ludwig (182) made Brownsburg fans making the trip down to see the Bulldogs’ lone entrant very happy with his 7-4 decision over Portage’s Exvonte Jones. Ludwig looks forward to tomorrow now that the pressure is off.
“It felt great and all I was looking for this week,” Ludwig said. “I feel like I can wrestle (more freely) without the elimination factor in there. Still, the top goal in my mind is getting on the top of that podium.”
Avon had two grapplers that did not advance, senior Jonah Zorniger (182) and sophomore Evan Elmore (170).
Zorniger drew top-ranked Matt Hurford of Culver Community and while putting up quite a fight, fell by major decision 15-7. Elmore also drew the state’s top-ranked grappler in his first round match, Merrillville’s Bobby Steveson, and lost by technical fall, 23-8.
Wrestling begins at 9:30 a.m. today with quarterfinals action at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.