Peru — When Kokomo’s Andrew Ledford scored a dramatic pin with 14 seconds left in the championship of the 120-pound weight class at the Peru Wrestling Regional on Saturday, the Wildkat senior was bursting with so much joy he could hardly contain it. Hugs. High fives. More hugs.
“Oh, I wish I could live it for the rest of my life,” Ledford said of the emotion of that moment. “It’s a great feeling coming in here knowing that I was the underdog, and then pulling off a big win like that. And it gave Kokomo six points.”
Ledford’s late pin finished a come-from-behind victory over Maconaquah’s Chase Wilson. The speedy Wilson trusted in his ability to score flash takedowns so he allowed Ledford escape points twice in the match, including one to tie the match. But it was Ledford who came out on top of the final skirmish.
“We got in a front headlock position and I was trying to run a move called a cow catcher, and he started biting down real hard on it, so I just rolled through and ended up sticking him,” Ledford said.
The two hadn’t squared off this season prior to the regional. Heading into the final, they had combined for just seven losses and 81 wins on the season.
“Not this year, but last year I saw him at the regional final and I beat him by a few points,” said Ledford, who improved to 42-3 this season. “He’s definitely better than he was, but everybody gets caught.”
Ledford said this year’s championship felt even better than last year’s. The next stop is Fort Wayne on Saturday for semistate action. There, each wrestler must win twice to assure himself a spot in the state finals. Only a quarter of all semistate wrestlers entered survive to the state meet. After winning a difficult match on Saturday, Ledford feels well prepared.