Written by Don Ratzlaff Tuesday, 12 February 2013 12:05
Coming off the Central Kansas League wrestling tournament Saturday at Lyons and a double dual event Thursday at Hoisington, Hillsboro coach Scott O’Hare and his athletes are focusing on the Class 3-2-1A regional tournament Friday and Saturday in Fredonia.
The Trojans finished fourth at the seven-school league tournament. Smoky Valley won the title with 142 points, followed by Pratt with 117, Lyons 83, Hillsboro 69, Hesston 62, Halstead 60 and Nickerson 24.
Tyrell Thiessen won the team’s only weight-class title with a 2-0 record at 185.
Two days earlier, the Trojans fell short in all three duals at Hoisington, losing to Smoky Valley 40-18, Hoisington 61-9 and Marion 30-28.
With regionals ahead, O’Hare commented on individual performances last week in that context.
• Jon Carey, sophomore, 120 pounds. “Jon is starting to come around after missing the first half of the season. He picked up a couple nice wins Thursday evening and Saturday. He also wrestled pretty well in a couple losses against quality competition, showing improvements in areas that he had been struggling with.
• Austin Cross, freshman, 145. “Over the past week, Austin improved his season record to 29-8. Three of his losses have come against state-ranked opponents and three others are losses against wrestlers he has also beaten this season.
• Preston Nelson, junior, 152. “Preston continues to improve. Although he goes into regionals with an 18-15 record, I believe he could really surprise some people if he wrestles up to his potential and reduces mistakes that have cost him in many matches this season.”
• Jesse Meier, sophomore, 160. “Jesse continues to be one of those wrestlers that you love to have on your team because of his work ethic and commitment. As far as wins and losses, this season has been disappointing for him. Even with the adversity of losing, Jesse remains positive, continues working hard and gets better every time he steps on the mat. I look for him to finish strong this year.
• Tanner Jones, senior, 170. “Tanner picked up four more wins over the past week to improve his record to 26-9. Eight of his nine losses have come to wrestlers who are currently ranked in their respective classifications, and he has wrestled many of them very close.
“I am excited to see how Tanner finishes his senior season. He has the ability to win a regional championship and finish with a state medal. It all comes down to his mindset heading into these next two weeks.
• Freshmen Levi Mendoza, 182, and Franklin Jost, 195. “Levi and Franklin continue to improve dramatically, however, their lack of experience still tends to hold them back. I am proud of both of them for the way they have stepped up to the challenge of competing on the varsity level as freshmen with limited wrestling experience in higher weight classes, typically competing against upperclassmen.
“As long as they keep the right attitude and continue to improve, the mat time and experience they are getting this year will pay off big over the next three years.”
• Tyrell Thiessen, senior, 285. “Tyrell improved his season record to 27-4 over the past week. He remains ranked at No. 4 in Class 3-2-1A heading into this weekend’s regional tournament. Like Tanner, Tyrell is in a great position to finish this season with a state medal. His mentality and toughness will have to match his physical ability. If it does, I like his chances over the next two weeks.”