“Brayden turned it on,” he said. “He normally does not score a lot of points but he did today. He has been wrestling phenomenally in the room the past couple of weeks. He really wants it this season.”
Hudkins, a freshman, took home his first semistate title after starting the season late due to a broken arm. Since then, he has been on a tear, going undefeated with a 21-0 record. With two teammates having been there before, Hudkins hopes to lean on that experience.
“I’ve always asked Neal about stuff and Monty is good about that too,” Hudkins said. “They’ve really helped me out with everything I do and what’s going on. They are preparing me for state.”
Danville was not the only county team that had a successful day. Avon is also sending three wrestlers to the state finals.
Dylan Jones (220), Jonah Zorniger (182), and Evan Elmore (170) all wrestled well enough to punch their tickets to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Elmore finished fourth after winning his first two matches of the day, as did Zorniger.
However, Zorniger and Jones also had something in common as they each lost their final match of the day in an ultimate tiebreaker scenario. For Jones, it was his first loss of the season and came in the finals as he finished as runner-up.
Both Jones and Zorniger went to the state championship last season, with Jones taking sixth and Zorniger finishing as a state qualifier. Much like Molly and Montgomery with Hudkins, the pair of Orioles wrestlers will have to take Elmore under their wing and prepare him for this weekend.
The final county wrestler headed down to the finals is Brownsburg’s Connor Ludwig (182) as he finished as the semistate runner up and was the only Bulldog out of four that advanced out of Evansville. Ludwig won the sectional this season and was last year’s regional champ, so he has the necessary postseason accolades to prepare him for what now lies ahead.
The 75th Annual Indiana Wrestling State Tournament opens with first-round action at 6 p.m. Friday night, preceded by the parade of champions. Wrestlers must win their first match to advance into Saturday’s wrestling that begins at 9:30 a.m.