ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Facing some tough pairings in the first round, Hillsboro High School wrestlers met their match at the Class 3-2-1A state wrestling tournament in Hays Friday and Saturday.
The Trojans battled hard but managed only one win and two points during the competition, finishing in a three-way tie for 46th place among the 49 schools that scored.
Three of the eight Trojans who competed faced the eventual champion of their respective weight divisions in the first round. Three others faced competitors who finished in the top four.
“We ran into some really tough competition that first round,” said coach Corey Burton. “I think we got intimidated a little bit after that first round and it showed when we got on the back side. I don’t think we wrestled as well as we could of on the back side.”
James Bina, wrestling in the 140-pound division, defeated Darren Lamme of Horton, 7-5, in the first round for Hillsboro’s lone victory. The sophomore then lost to Grandclair of Hoisington, 6-1, in the quarterfinals and then by an identical score to Casey Driscoll of Russell in consolation competition. Driscoll finished fourth.
The other seven Trojan qualifiers were eliminated after losing their first match and then losing in the first consolation round.
n Sophomore Bri Ratzlaff, wrestling at 103 pounds, lost 12-0 to Alex Miller of Onaga in the first round, then lost to A.J. Hickman of Lincoln, 7-2. Miller finished third.
— Senior John Sims (125) lost to Kalvin Wood of Phillipsburg 18-5 in the first round, then lost 10-6 to Nate Coleman of Oberlin. Wood finished fourth and Coleman sixth.
— Freshman Danny Yoder (130) was pinned by eventual champion Eric Johnson of Norton at 3:33 in the opening round, then was pinned by Dustin Gardner of Wellsville at 1:40 of the first round. Gardner finished sixth.
— Junior Carson Greenhaw (145) lost a close battle with Jake Gawith of Minneapolis 5-4 in the first round, then was pinned by Adam Linck of Onaga at 1:42 of the second round.
— Senior Adam Jilka (152) was pinned by Kevin Hadley of Phillipsburg at 2:29 of the first round, then was pinned by Brandon Forbes of Pleasant Ridge at 2:46 in the second round. Hadley finished second.
— Senior Ryan Jilka (171) was pinned by the eventual champion, Derek Faught of Effingham, at 1:51 of the first round, then lost 6-4 to Bobby Dennis of Oakley.
— Junior Wade Sorensen (189) was pinned in the first round by eventual champion Branden Clouse of Effingham at 3:48 in the second period, then was pinned in 0:58 in the first period by Jeff Horinek of Atwood.
“We had a great year even if it didn’t finish maybe the way we would have wanted it to,” Burton said.
“By far, it’s been the most successful wrestling season we’ve ever had.” he added. “We had the best dual record (14-2) we’ve ever had, we finished higher in tournaments than we ever have, we’ve had more kids place in tournaments than we’ve ever had, and had our first ‘Outstanding Wrestler’ (Ron Davis at Hesston). Just a ton of things happened that were firsts for us.”
Burton was pleased with the effort he got from his seniors.
“I didn’t have any of those seniors wrestle all four years,” he said. “They all wrestled just three years. They really wrestled well this year. They were great leaders and worked hard in the (practice) room. We’re going to miss them.”