Hendricks County high schools sent 25 wrestlers to the Evansville Reitz semistate last Saturday to see who would become a state qualifier. Grapplers had to finish in the top four of their respective weight classes to advance to the state finals.
Seven wrestlers were up to the challenge of becoming one of the state’s elite; 16 headed to the finals in their respective weight class.
Danville, winner of sectional and regional titles, finished third in the team aspect and came away with three semistate champions on the day.
“Our team finish was nice … we were looking for kids to show up and compete and that’s all we ask them to do,” Danville coach Steve Pugliese said. “To be top three at that semistate, we’re not the biggest school down there. We’ve come a long way.
“We knew we had some tough matches going into the day. What was disappointing was we were winning a few matches that we should have won. It’s not that we lost but how we lost that was disappointing.”
The Warriors’ Neal Molloy (145), Brayden Montgomery (152), and Brock Hudkins (106) all came away with top honors. All three were sectional and regional champions and now sit in one of the four coveted No. 1-seeded slots next weekend.
“Those guys have earned it and it’s a result of what you put in,” Pugliese said.
For Molloy, it was his third consecutive semistate championship and is now his final chance for another state title after winning his first championship two seasons ago.
“It does not ever get old,” Molloy said with a chuckle. “Last year I didn’t finish where I wanted to, but it motivated me and now I’m here knocking at the door again.”
Montgomery placed third at semistate last season and this will be his second trip to the state finals, finishing as a state qualifier. He is coming on strong at the end of the year according to Molloy.