Rebels @ IHSAA STATE FINALS 2019

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February 20, 2019

FOUR RONCALLI WRESTLERS FINISH IN THE STATE’S TOP FOUR

The Roncalli High School wrestling team placed a program-best four wrestlers in the top four of their respective weight classes over the weekend in the IHSAA State Wrestling finals.  They set themselves up well for a great run at the State Finals, after capturing the first IHSAA Team Semi-State Championship in school history last weekend.  Prior to this season, the Rebels had never placed more than two wrestlers in the top four in a single state final.  The quartet’s effort propelled the Rebels to 53 team points and a sixth-place finish at the IHSAA State Finals.  The 53 points represents the most points the Rebels have ever scored in a state final and the sixth-place finish is the program’s best result since a fifth-place finish in 2011.

“”We are really proud of the effort that our wrestlers brought to the mat this season,” said head coach Wade McClurg.  “You get what you earn in this sport, and these four wrestlers earned their state medals.  Alec and Brayden each won their third-consecutive state medal, Tyce and Elijah each won their second state medals.  These are incredible individual accomplishments for our athletes, and these accomplishments are also a testament to the team and how hard each member worked to push one another to be better.  We had a full practice room the week of the IHSAA State Finals, even though we had qualified just five wrestlers to compete.  It was fun to accomplish so many victories with this team, but it was even more enjoyable to watch this group of Rebels work hard together and grow into becoming better people.”

Junior Alec Viduya finished as the runner-up in the 132-pound class and concluded his season with a 41-2 record.  Viduya’s effort marks the 14th time in program history that a Roncalli wrestler finished first or second at the state final.  Senior Elijah Mahan finished third in the 170-pound class for the best state finish of his career.  Mahan wrapped up his senior season with a 40-2 record.  Junior Brayden Lowery finished third in the 120-pound class.  Lowery lost his semifinal match 3-0 for his only defeat of the season, as he finished 42-1.  Junior Tyce Freije finished fourth in the 138-pound class and posted a 38-4 season record.  A fifth wrestler, senior John Harris, advanced to the state final in the 285-pound class, but lost his first-round match via fall.

Coach McClurg’s thoughts on the five wrestlers who competed in the state finals:

Brayden Lowery:  “His state finals performance was gritty.  He had to work really hard in all of his matches, and his attitude and effort through it all was rock solid. After a tough semifinal loss, we were pleased with his ability to get his mind right on going to get the next best thing.  Wrestling for the bronze medal is not an easy thing to do, but Brayden Lowery is a tough guy and it showed during that third-place match.”

Alec Viduya:  “We are really pleased with Alec’s growth as a wrestler and a young man.  He became a much better wrestler in all three positions this season.  He was turning people left and right, winning by fall in 50% of his matches this season, nobody was able to hold him down from the bottom position this season, his neutral game also improved because of his ability to handfight and he was a threat to score in so many different positions.”

Tyce Freije:  “It was great to see Tyce back on the mat this season healthy.  Tyce’s work-ethic and leadership has always been top-notch, so having him every day this year in the practice room really helped our entire team get better.  There was a lot of adversity that he had to overcome this last year to get healthy and to get back to the level of competition that he knew he was capable of.  Tyce remained focused on the things that he can control, and then good things came his way.

Elijah Mahan:  “A lot of people don’t realize that Elijah wasn’t even a varsity wrestler as a freshman, and now he ends his high school wrestling career as a two-time state medalist.  The 170-pound bracket in the IHSAA State Tournament was called by Flowrestling as one of the deepest state-tournament brackets in the country.   Elijah lost a heartbreaker in the semifinals to a nationally-ranked opponent, but bounced back and finished his career in a Roncalli singlet with a win for the bronze medal.”

John Harris:  “We talked John into coming out halfway through the season his sophomore year.  We sure are glad that he made the commitment to becoming a better and tougher football player during the winter time through participating in wrestling.  John will tell you that wrestling has played a key role in his success on the football field and earning a scholarship to play at Ball State.  John and his predecessor Marc Roland (currently playing football at Purdue) both serve as great examples to future Roncalli upper-weight class wrestlers, that wrestling is good for football.”