Kokomo wrestlers Andrew Ledford and Fletcher Miller are focused and distracted all at the same time. The week between the semistate and the state finals is difficult to endure for the two Wildkats who qualified for state.
“It’s hard sleeping knowing that you’ve got the biggest match of your life in a couple days,” Ledford said Tuesday. “Definitely ready, that’s for sure.”
Each wrestler around the state who is preparing to compete at Bankers Life Fieldhouse this weekend is in the same boat. That doesn’t make it any easier.
“There’s not a second I’m not thinking about it,” Miller said. “It’s such a long week when you’re thinking about stuff like that. The school day takes so long. It seems like it’s forever getting to Friday this week.”
Ledford, a senior, will take a 45-4 record against Merrillville senior Adam Garcia (34-2) to open the state meet. Miller, a junior, carries a perfect 47-0 mark and will face Bloomington South senior Boyd Haley (38-9). The opening round of state is Friday. Each weight class has 16 participants. Friday’s winners move on to a full day of competition on Saturday. Saturday’s competitors all medal, and get a spot somewhere on the podium.
Both Ledford and Miller are making their first trip to state after qualifying from the Fort Wayne Semistate last Saturday. Each saw his path end in Fort Wayne last year. Ledford finished second in the 120-pound weight class on Saturday, while Miller won the 220-pound title.
“It was overwhelming, just finally having a purpose for all the hard work that we put in in the [practice] room, just pulling off something that people didn’t expect me to do,” Ledford said of qualifying for state.
He started wrestling in sixth grade and said that at the time “I was terrible. I’d go out there and just flop around, hoping that I wouldn’t get pinned.” All that time, he said what sustained him was “that one goal” of getting to state. “I’m not going to quit until I meet that one goal, and then now that I’ve met it, I’m ready to surpass it and get a medal in the state of Indiana.”