Trojans capture tournament and league titles

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Enjoying perhaps its most successful week yet to cap the regular season, the Hillsboro wrestling added a team title at the 10-team Remington Invitational on Saturday to the league dual championship it claimed on Thursday.

At Remington, the Trojans amassed 160.5 points to defeat second-place McPherson at 133.5. Marion placed fifth with 93 points.

“I am proud of these guys for winning this tournament team title following up the (first-place) finish last weekend at Southeast of Saline and the two dual victories earlier this week,” coach Scott O’Hare said.

“We have finished very well in every tournament this year, including two previous runner-up finishes. To finish out the regular season with two tournament titles is a great momentum boost going into the regional tournament this next weekend.”

Earning weight class titles for the Trojans at Remington were Nicholas Mueller at 124 pounds, Eric Cress at 140, Matt Brown at 145 and Andrew Bina at 152. Each one went 3-0 for the day.

Bina, ranked sixth in Class 3-2-1A, improved his season mark to 30-1. For Mueller, a freshman, it was his first tournament title in his young varsity career.

Ric Johnson (2-1) and Kurtis Shaw (2-1) claimed second-place finishes for Hillsboro at 130 and 275 pounds respectively.

“I was extremely proud of the seniors,” O’Hare said. “Putting five of the six into the championship finals of their last regular-season tournament was awesome.

“Chris Jensen, our only senior not to make the finals, wrestled a solid match and had some opportunities to make it as well, but he fell short. I was happy that he battled through the consolation side to finish third.”

Also finishing among the top four were: Alex Jost (0-3), fourth at 103; Jensen (3-1), third at 119; Frankie Martin (4-1), third at 130; Sean Leihy (4-1), third at 140 and Jacob Yoder (2-2), fourth at 160.

“The depth of our team also showed up this weekend, as we were able to enter some JV wrestlers to fill some of the brackets,” O’Hare said.

“Sophomore Frankie Martin, wrestling JV behind Nicholas Mueller and Ric Johnson all season, came through with a third-place finish at 130 pounds and Sean Leihy went 4-1 on the day, finishing fourth at 140. Sean had to forfeit his medal-round match for third place due to reaching his five-match limit allowed in one day.”

Also competing for Hillsboro were Tyler Jones (1-2) at 135, Grady Stultz (0-2) at 145 and John Hein (0-2) at 189.

O’Hare said his team’s success over the past two weeks bodes well for regional competition this weekend at Eureka.

“We have four practices left this week to fine-tune some technique, and then it’s time to see if they can put it all together,” O’Hare said. “I have mentioned to these guys over the past several weeks that we can be proud of what we have accomplished this year, but what really counts is still ahead of us.

“I am hopeful that our recent success is indicative of us being prepared for the post-season.”

Regionals at Eureka will begin on Friday and extend into Saturday with the top four finishers in each weight class qualifying for state at Hays.

Double dual at Lyons-The Trojans claimed the Mid-Central Activities Association league duals title Feb. 9 with wins over Haven and its primary rival Lyons.

The two wins gave Hillsboro a perfect 7-0 dual mark in the league and 13-0 record for the season. It is the first time an HHS team has gone undefeated in duals for the season.

In the title match with Lyons, the Trojans prevailed 30-27, helped in no small part with an 18-0 advantage in forfeit points. On the mat, the Trojans win four of nine matches.

Ric Johnson defeated Colton Clarke at 130 pounds, 9-3; Tyler Jones defeated Mike Miles at 135, 5-3; Eric Cress defeated Garret Ludwig at 140, 3-0; and Andrew Bina defeated Keanan Kroetsch at 152, 2-1. Picking up forfeit wins were Zach Magnuson at 112, Chris Jensen at 119 an Jacob Yoder at 160.

Five Trojans lost on the mat. Alex Jost lost by fall at 103 pounds by Chris Larsen; Nicholas Mueller lost to Nathan Kasting, 4-3; Matt Brown lost by fall at 145 to Cody Hazard; John Hein lost by fall at 189 to Davis Verrette; and Kurtis Shaw lost by fall at 275 to Gabe Cline.

Prior to that match, Hillsboro defeated Haven, 61-12.

Posting wins on the mat were Chris Jensen at 119, Mueller, Johnson, Jones, Cress, Brown and Bina.

Winning by default were Jost, Yoder, Hein and Shaw.

Haven’s only two wins came by forfeit.

“Obviously, I am very pleased with this group of young men to complete the dual season the way they did,” coach Scott O’Hare said. “This group of six seniors has really come through and has been instrumental in leading the team.

“We have had good depth all season and there are some quality wrestlers on this team who can’t quite break into the varsity lineup. Having this depth and these quality wrestlers pushing the varsity guys each and very practice has certainly helped this team to improve through this season.”

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