Trojan, Warrior wrestlers open season well in Hillsboro

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The Hillsboro and Marion wrestling teams dominated the season-opening triple-dual meet at Hillsboro on Thursday, with the Trojans prevailing over the Warriors in a finale face-off that wasn’t decided until the final match.

Both Hillsboro and Marion easily won their duals against Smoky Valley and defending league champion Hoisington.

The Cardinals did not bring a full team to Hillsboro because of a previous contract commitment to compete in Russell on the same night, according to Hillsboro coach Scott O’Hare.

“That was pretty disappointing to me because I was really hoping to have them at full strength for a bench-mark for us to see where we’re at,” he said.

“I knew they would be pretty solid competition.”

The Trojans started the evening with a 54-12 win over Smoky Valley, then walloped Hoisington, 72-6, winning six of the seven matches that were actually determined on the mat.

Marion defeated Hoisington by an identical score and then beat Smoky Valley, 63-24.

That set up the showdown between the intra-county rivals.

Hillsboro’s Alex Jost and Marion’s Logan Richmond each earned 6 points for their teams with forfeit victories at 103 pounds and 112 pounds, respectively.

Marion went ahead 15-6 over the next two matches on an 8-3 decision by Riley Ross over Chris Jensen at 119 pounds and a pin by Hank Collett over Matthew Brown at 125 pounds.

Hillsboro freshman Nicholas Mueller pulled the Trojans to within 15-12 by pinning Thomas McGee at 130 pounds.

After Marion’s Charlie Holub pinned Tyler Jones at 135 pounds to give Marion a 21-12 edge, Hillsboro’s Eric Cress pinned Mark Kukuk at 140.

Marion’s John Barr prevailed in an 11-4 decision over Grady Stultz at 145, but a pin by Hillsboro’s Matthew Brown over Gavin Moore at 152 tied the team score at 24.

From that point on, the lead bounced back and forth between the two teams.

Hillsboro’s Andrew Bina pinned Ben Leppke at 160, Marion’s Casey Nelson pinned Jacob Yoder at 171 and Adam Depler pinned Josh Kenney at 189 to put Marion on top, 36-30, with two matches to go.

Hillsboro pulled even when C.J. Shaw pinned Anthony Jones at 215, then won the match when big brother Kurtis Shaw pinned Hunter Spencer at 275 for a final score of 42-36.

“The Marion contest was such an exciting way to finish our only home dual,” O’Hare said. “It made it very exciting for the fans that were there, which was pretty pleasing to me.

“I don’t know that I wanted it to be that close,” he added. “I expected (Marion) to be pretty solid. “(Coach Chad Adkins) has a lot of good kids back and we had a few weight classes that I thought could go either way.

“My senior wrestlers really came, through. One who did lose a close match was Chris Jensen against Riley Ross. Those guys had split last year a couple of times, so we knew it would be a battle.”

Hillsboro individual records for the evening were: Jost, 3-0 with a pin and two forfeit wins; Jensen, 2-1 with two forfeits; Matthew Brown, 2-1 with one decision and one forfeit; Mueller, 3-0 with two pins and one forfeit; Jones, 1-2 with a pin; Cress, 2-0 with one decision and one pin; Stultz, 2-1 with one pin and one decision; Matt Brown, 3-0 with three pins; Bina, 3-0 with three pins; Yoder, 1-1 with one pin; Kenney, 1-2 with one pin; C.J Shaw, 2-1 with one decision and one pin; Kurtis Shaw, 2-0 with two pins; Ross Schroeder (140), 1-0 with a forfeit; and Darcy Unrau (171), 1-0 with a forfeit.

“I was certainly pleased with our first meet of the season,” O’Hare said. “It’s obviously a great thing to start 3-0, especially against league schools.

“Overall, I thought our kids wrestled pretty well, considering how early in the season it is,” he added. “But we certainly have a number of things we have to work on and get better at, as would be expected.”

O’Hare said he particularly liked what he saw from his veterans.

“Although we haven’t been able to cover as much early in the year, my experienced wrestlers who were coming back were able to improve on a number of things we had problems with a year ago.

“It was good to see our seniors come out and pick up those valuable wins for us.”

Marion individual records for the evening were: Richmond, 3-0 on three forfeits; Ross, 3-0 with two forfeits and a decision; Collett, 3-0 with a forfeit, decision and pin; McGee, 1-2 with a forfeit; Holub, 2-1 with one fall and one decision; Kukuk, 2-1 with one forfeit and one pin; Barr, 3-0 with two pins and a decision; Moore, 2-1 with two pins; Leppke, 2-1 with two pins; Nelson, 3-0 with three pins; Depler, 3-0 with three pins; Jones, 1-2 with a pin; Spencer, 1-2 with a forfeit.

“This is a very good dual for us to have our first night out,” said Adkins. “We always know that we will see some well-coached and talented kids when we wrestle Hillsboro.

“We saw some things that we need to improve and we will do so. I am looking forward to a great year. Warrior wrestling is headed in the right direction and we will be tough to beat this season.”

Coming-The next varsity engagement for both Hillsboro and Marion will be at the Hesston Invitational on Saturday. Matches will begin at 9 a.m.

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