ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Hillsboro wrestlers placed fourth and Marion 16th at the 20-team Halstead Invitational Wrestling Tournament Friday and Saturday.
The Trojans, with eight wrestlers finishing among the top six in their respective weight classes, finished with 1351/2 team points. Lincoln won the tournament with 2131/2 points, Douglass had 151 and Chase County 1411/2.
Marion, which brought only five wrestlers to the tournament, scored 32 points.
Chris Jensen and Eric Cress turned in Hillsboro’s top performances, finishing second at 119 pounds and 135, respectively.
Jensen pinned Ben Bergkamp of Garden Plain and Curtis Anderson of Flint Hills before being pinned by David King of Hesston in the championship round.
Cress pinned Zach Tanner of Southeast of Saline, outscored Jeff Jones of Leon Bluestem 7-4, pinned Luke Thibault of Halstead before losing to Jared Spear of Lincoln, 6-0 in the championship match.
“I was very pleased with Chris and Eric making it into the championship finals,” coach Scott O’Hare said. “Both of them defeated wrestlers in the semifinals that they had lost to earlier in the year. That really shows the progress these guys are making to this point in the season.”
Kurtis Shaw was Hillsboro’s next highest finisher with a third-place medal at 275 pounds. He was pinned in his opening match by Adam Blaes of Cherryvale, then pinned Cody Oldham of Kingman, defeated Ricky Burton of Circle 4-3, defeated Todd Martin of Douglass on an injury default, came back to beat Blaes 4-1, and then was awarded third place in the consolation finals on an injury default by Chris Schmidt of Leon Bluestem.
Zach Magnuson and Andrew Bina placed fourth at 103 and 145, respectively.
Magnuson defeated J.J. Criss of Circle 6-0, was pinned by Brendan Harshman of Chase County, pinned Kevin Broeils of St. John’s Military and Solomon, then was pinned by Levi Hickman of Lincoln.
Bina lost his opening match to Spencer McGlothin of Cherryvale 6-4, pinned Spencer Crowthes of Smoky Valley, defeated Josiah Daniels of Halstead 14-6, pinned Nash Volker of Stafford, then lost a close 2-1 decision to Ross Ballard in the consolation finals.
“Zach Magnuson really put things together this weekend and wrestled a very solid tournament,” O’Hare said. “He looked good throughout the tournament and earned his first varsity medal.
“Andrew Bina and Kurtis Shaw both put together a string of solid victories to make it into the consolation finals matches after tough losses in the opening round.”
Also finishing among the top six in their weight division were Ric Johnson (3-3) at 125, Matt Brown (3-3) at 152 and Ben Schaefer (2-3) at 160.
Also competing for Hillsboro were Grady Stultz (0-2) at 130, Josh Kenney (1-2) at 171 and Frankie Martin (2-2) at 112.
“Putting eight of 11 guys into the medal round was a tremendous accomplishment at such a large tournament, O’Hare said. “I felt like we wrestled a little sluggishly on Friday in the opening rounds, but on Saturday the guys really got on a roll.”
O’Hare said, overall, this was his team’s best tournament performance this season.
“Hopefully, our technique will continue to improve and our effort and intensity will continue through the rest of the season,” he said.
“I think a few of these guys learned the endurance require to compete in a two-day tournament, much like regionals will be,” O’Hare added.
Meanwhile, Marion placed two wrestlers as high as fifth: Casey Nelson, who was 3-2 at 152, and Chris Freeby, who was 3-2 at 171.
“Casey wrestled well Friday night and made it into the semifinals Saturday morning,” coach Chad Adkins said. “He lost to Tyson Utech from Herington, 7-5. He made some mistakes in his next match, and then went on to win his fifth- and sixth-place match.
“Chris was also in the semifinals and lost to the 160-pound state champion from last year,” Adkins added.
Marion was missing one of its top wrestlers on Saturday. Chelsea Arnhold, competing at 112 pounds, went 1-1 on Friday, but then withdrew on Saturday because of illness.
Also competing for Marion were Justin Jacobon (0-2) at 125 and Drew Looper (1-2) at 215.
“Justin is a freshman and saw good competition for the first time,” Adkins said. “He will respond better in the future.
“Drew is wrestling better every week,” he added. “He is just coming off a shoulder injury (from football) and didn’t wrestle before Christmas.”
Coming-The Trojans and the Warriors will travel to Lincoln on Thursday for a double dual. Matches will begin at 5:30 p.m.
On Saturday, the two teams head to Eureka for an invitational tournament. Matches begin there at 9 a.m.
Junior varsity-The Hillsboro junior varsity wrestlers competed in Abilene on Friday.
The results, by weight class: Alex Jost, 0-3 at 103 pounds; Zach Jost, 1-2 at 119; Matt Brown, 1-2 at 125; Ross Schneider, 2-1 at 125; Sean Leihy, 2-1 at 130; Jacob Yoder, 0-3 at 145; Darcy Unrau, 1-2 at 145; Josh Thomas, 2-1 at 160; Zach Luthi, 1-2 at 171; C.J. Shaw, 1-3 at 215.