NEW CASTLE — All the hard work that wrestlers put in is for one goal — to make it to the pinnacle of Indiana high school wrestling and win a state championship.
Two local wrestlers will get their shot at a state title in Bankers Life Fieldhouse next week. Pendleton Heights’ Tyler Flood and Alexandria’s Nate Ryan both finished fourth in the New Castle semistate to qualify for a trip to Indianapolis.
Flood, in the 113-pound weight class, started off the morning by knocking off Warren Central’s Erik Owens (28-12) in a 3-1 decision. In the second round, he beat Andrew Hayes of Carmel by a 6-0 score, automatically qualifying him for the state finals.
In his third match, the Arabians grappler fell to Hamilton Southeastern’s Austin Holmes (37-2) by way of a pin with 21 seconds left in the second period. Flood also was pinned by Cathedral's Skylour Turner with 1:10 left in the final period of his last match.
“We thought all along he was good enough to get there, and I still feel that he’s good enough to be a place winner,” Pendleton Heights coach Dave Cloud said. “He fulfilled our expectations. We had to battle through some injuries and illness this year. It’s been a good season for us.”
Pendleton Heights regional champion Spencer McCool (30-5) took a 6-2 decision from South Vermillion’s Tanner Smith before bowing out to Greg Johnson Jr. 4-3 in the second round. Also advancing to the second round for the Arabians was David Bryant (21-7) with a pin over Colton Handley (31-8) 51 seconds into the final round.
In the 152-pound weight class, Alexandria’s Ryan (29-6) pinned South Dearborn’s Brandon Manning (38-6) as the buzzer sounded to end the second period in his first match.
His second-round foe was the No. 5-ranked wrestler, Conner James (34-2) of Roncalli. Ryan used his skill to take a 4-3 decision and qualify for a trip to the state championship.