ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
On the strength of three weight-class titles and 11 top-four finishes in all, the Hillsboro wrestling team claimed the runner-up position at the Mid-Central Activities Association tournament Saturday in Halstead.
Lyons lived up to pre-tournament expectations by winning the title with 177 points. Hillsboro was next at 151.5, followed by Hesston 126.5, Marion 85, Hoisington 82, Smoky Valley 67.5, Halstead 65 and Haven 35.
“I thought overall we placed about like I expected, with maybe two or three exceptions,” Hillsboro coach Scott O’Hare said. “We had a couple of kids who lost some matches who I really thought had a good chance to win. I don’t know if it would have been enough to catch (Lyons), but it would have made it pretty darn close. It could have made a difference for us.”
Coming through as weight-class champions were Ric Johnson, who went 2-0 at 130 pounds, Eric Cress, who went 2-0 at 140, and Andrew Bina, who went 3-0 at 152 to bump his season record to 21-1.
“Andrew Bina certainly continues to wrestle well,” O’Hare said. “He’s very focused, working extremely hard in practice and working on doing all the little things very well to help himself prepared, both physically and mentally. He’s in pretty good shape right now.
“I was pleased to see Ricky and Eric get in (the championship round), too.”
Coming up second in their respective weight divisions were: Chris Jensen, 1-1 at 119, and Jacob Yoder, 1-1 at 160. Zach Magnuson placed second with a 1-1 record in a round-robin format at 112 pounds.
“It’s nice to get Zach Magnuson back in the lineup,” O’Hare said of the junior, who is coming back from an early-season injury. “Although he’s losing some matches, he’s losing some close ones against some good kids. It’s just taking him a little while to get back to where he needs to be.”
Also finishing among the top four for Hillsboro were: Alex Jost, fourth with a 1-1 mark in a round-robin format at 103; Nicholas Mueller, third at 2-1 at 125; Matt Brown, third at 3-1 at 145; Darcy Unrau, fourth at 0-3 at 171; and Kurtis Shaw, third at 1-2 at 275.
Also competing for the Trojans were Tyler Jones, 0-2 at 135, and John Hein, 0-2 at 189.
“It certainly would have been nice to win the last league tournament we’re going to hold,” O’Hare said. “They’re going to abandon the league tournament mostly because we’re already seeing those schools in league duals and are seeing a bunch of them at the same tournaments.
“We decided that instead of seeing the same people all of the time, we’re going to try to find other (teams) and do our league championship based on the duals.”
Marion, meanwhile, was led by Casey Nelson and Shawn Britton, who placed second at 171 pounds and 275 pounds, respectively.
Also placing among the top four finishers in their respective weight classes were: Adam Regnier, fourth at 119, Hank Collett, fourth at 125; John Barr, fourth at 145; Ben Leppke, third at 160, and Adam Depler, fourth at 189.
Coming-Hillsboro’s next varsity competition will be Saturday at the Southeast of Saline Invitational. The round-robin dual format will begin at 10 a.m.
Marion will compete Thursday at a double-dual at Remington. Joining them and the home team will be Chase County and Eureka. Matches begin at 5:30 p.m.