Hurford, McHugh advances in 1st round of state finals

INDIANAPOLIS — The object of wrestling is to pin your opponent.
But if taking the other guy down a bunch of times works, well, that’s fine, too.
It certainly worked Friday for Matt Hurford. The Culver Community senior collected seven takedowns in a 15-7 victory over Avon’s Jonah Zorniger on the opening night of the IHSAA state wrestling finals.
Hurford, who improved to 45-0 on the season and easily kept his quest alive for a state championship in the 182-pound weight class. Working a sweet single-leg to double-leg switch, he dominated Zorninger (27-5) in the third period, scoring six points in the space of 30 seconds to wrap up a major decision.
“I was taking a lot of different shots, and it just kept working,” said Hurford, who never trailed in the match before an announced crowd of 8,747. “I was really nervous going in, but by the start of the third period, I was feeling pretty good.”
By winning Friday, Hurford is guaranteed an IHSAA award medal this evening when the tournament wraps up at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. He was scheduled to face Warren Central’s Katrell Moss (34-5) in this morning’s quarterfinals.
It’s a similar story for Culver Academies senior Anthony McHugh, who made short work of New Haven’s Reese Sieger in the 138-pound class and advanced to today’s quarterfinals.
Aggressive from the start, McHugh got a quick takedown and then cradled Sieger for a fall in 1:49.
“I lost my first match down here the last two years, so I was pretty nervous,” said McHugh, now 45-4. “I wrestled (Sieger) earlier this year and beat him, but you never know.”
McHugh was slated to face Alexandria’s Luke Blanton (50-0) this morning.
“Now that I’ve got that first match out of the way, I feel pretty good,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Sixteen wrestlers in each weight class began the journey, with half the field eliminated on the opening night.
Plymouth’s Cody Allmon was one of those who didn’t make the cut. Paired against undefeated Brock Hudkins of Danville (22-0), Allmon was unable to get any offense going.
Hudkins scored a 15-0 technical fall. Allmon, only a freshman, closes his season at 35-9.
The finals are slated to begin at 7:30 p.m. this evening.