Senior staff writer
Roncalli freshman Alec Viduya became the high school’s first state wrestling champion in 42 years Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
With Roncalli backers shouting his name from the second level of the fieldhouse, Viduya, a 113-pounder, defeated Hunter Watts of Jimtown 7-4.
The match was tense until late in the second period when Viduya gained a 5-2 edge with a takedown.
“I took a shot,” Viduya said. “I had a leg up, locked up a cradle and got him on his back … I felt stronger near the end of the match too.”
His biggest challenge came in the semifinal round when upsetting last year’s 106-pound champion, undefeated sophomore Asa Garcia of Avon, 6-3.
Earlier Saturday, Viduya defeated junior Jose Diaz of Wheeler 7-3. Viduya continued his run with a technical fall against Evansville Mater Dei freshman Kane Egli.
Viduya is only the fourth Roncalli grappler to claim a state championship and the first since Chris Maxwell (1985, 167 pounds). Don Mappes (1976, 145 pounds) and Duane Lutgring (1980, 185 pounds) also earned state titles. Each of the three previous champions were seniors.
Viduya, who won 47-of-49 matches this season, has been wrestling for 10 years and is a product of St. Jude Catholic School and club competition.
His goal is high: He wants to become a rare four-time state champion. Only nine wrestlers have achieved that level.
“This is pretty amazing,” he said. “I knew I had a chance to win; I still have three more chances … I’ll be the target now, and that means I have to work harder than everyone.”
First-year Roncalli coach Wade McClurg also mentored Viduya throughout club competition.
“He has an amazing work ethic,” McClurg said. “Winning state the first time out is a surprise, but he has so much confidence that he knew he could do it.”
Perry Meridian junior Noah Warren, 152 pounds, reached the championship match but was outclassed 19-5 by last year’s 145-pound champion Joe Lee of Evansville Mater Dei.
Warren made it to the title bout by pinning Kenny Kerm of Jimtown in the semifinals, Kassius Breathitt of South Bend Riley 8-4 and Colt Rutter of Yorktown 6-2.
Perry Meridian coach Matt Schoettle was not totally disappointed by the outcome. “This match was a whole new level for him. He (Lee) is so good that there isn’t anybody in this whole fieldhouse who could beat him. “He (Warren) likes to have fun with it, and he loves to score points; but to reach Lee’s level, he will have to work his tail off.”
Warren finished 45-2 with his only other loss to 145-pound state champion Brayton Lee of Brownsburg.
Eleven wrestlers represented Southside high schools at the 79th annual state finals. Here’s how they fared:
• Brayden Lowery, third place, 106, freshman, Perry Meridian.
• Gleason Mappes, fourth, 160, junior, Center Grove.
• Kain Rust, sixth, 145, senior, Perry Meridian.
• Tyce Freije, eighth, 120, freshman, Roncalli.
• First-round competitors: 132, Ethan Smiley, junior, Beech Grove, and 170, Jonah Hays, junior; 113, Alex Petro, sophomore; 145, Logan Coyle, senior; and 120, Sunny Nier, senior, each from Center Grove.
(Note: Roncalli sports information director Rob Brown contributed historical information for this article.)