By JEREMY HINES
Roncalli freshman Alec Viduya knew what it would take to become a wrestling state champion. Thereâ€™s hard work, dedication and all that jazz â€“ but most importantly, he needed a perm.
â€œAlec decided it was time to bring the perm back before the sectional this year,â€ Roncalli coach Wade McClurg said. â€œHe was 15-0 in the state series with the perm, so the secret is in the hair.â€
Viduya won the 113 pound weight class, beating Jimtownâ€™s No. 6-ranked Hunter Watt 7-4 in the finale.
â€œHe earned the nickname Goku (Dragonball Z reference) last summer,â€ McClurg said. â€œGoku is known for his work ethic and constantly striving to be the greatest warrior to protect the universe. Alec has crazy hair like Goku and he is always striving to be the best wrestler to protect the Southside Rebellion.â€
Viduya become Roncalliâ€™s fourth state champion, and the first in 32 years since Chris Maxwell won in 1985. He wants to follow in the footsteps of his former coach Lance Ellis and become a four-time champion.
â€œHe was my coach for a long time, and Iâ€™d love to follow what he did,â€ Viduya said.
Viduya certainly doesnâ€™t lack confidence. The freshman tried not one, but two standing cradles in the finals match.
â€œI know what Iâ€™m capable of,â€ Viduya said. â€œI knew that if I could lock that up I was getting back points.â€
Coach McClurg learned from his mentor, Carmel coach Ed Pendoski, that communication is the key to having a successful program. So McClurg held a meeting with Alec and his family at their kitchen table in July and discussed Alecâ€™s goals.
â€œWithout hesitation he told me that he wanted to be a state champion as a freshman like his mentor Lance Ellis,â€ McClurg said. â€œThat dialogue began when he was a youth wrestler and continued into the kitchen table conversation in July, and itâ€™s still communicated on a daily basis.â€
Viduya dismantled several ranked opponents during his tournament run. He beat Warren Centralâ€™s No. 3-ranked Skylour Turner in the New Castle semistate final 15-4. He then beat #17 Kane Egli, No. 8 Jose Diaz and No. 1-ranked, returning state champion Asa Garcia leading up to the final match.
â€œMy Friday night match was one of the hardest because I had to make weight and maintain my weight,â€ Viduya said. â€œI was pretty tired. On Monday I was 122 pounds.â€
As is the case with almost every state champion, Viduya strives for excellence in practice.
â€œIâ€™ve had the privilege to have coached Alec since he was 8 years old,â€ McClurg said. â€œAlec has always taken his training very seriously and is passionate about wrestling. He is motivated by his absolute hatred of losing and has been that way since he was very young. Thatâ€™s just how he is programmed. Alec is the ultimate competitor. He is confident in his abilities and he stays mentally strong in tough situations.â€
To many, Viduya seems very straight-laced and serious at all times. He is hyper-focused during tournaments and dual meets. But coach McClurg says heâ€™s not always that way.
â€œThere is a misconception with some people who are not real familiar with Alec,â€ McClurg said. â€œBecause they think he never smiles or talks. The people that really know Alec and see him every day in the hallways at Roncalli know that is certainly not the case. If I had to describe Alec in one word it would be â€˜cool.â€™ Alec is one cool customer.â€
This summer Viduya plans to wrestle at Fargo in freestyle. His work to stay on the top of the championship ladder in high school is far from over. But, he feels that as long as he puts in the work, and keeps the perm, he should be ready.