Hillsboro?s four state qualifiers combined for a 1-8 record at the Class 3-2-1A state wrestling tournament in Hays this weekend.
At 126 pounds, two-time state qualifier Jon Carey lost by major decision in the opening round to Blake Graham of Pleasant Ridge, 14-3. He defeated Jim Weller of South?east of Saline, 7-3, in the first consolation round, but lost in the second round to Riley Juenemann of Phillipsburg, 8-0. Carey finished his junior season with a 28-14 record.
At 152, Cody Delk lost in the first round to Petter Ekroll of Halstead, 7-1, then was eliminated in the first consolation round by Mike Kas?son of Norton Commun?ity, 12-4. Delk completed his senior season with a record of 28-18.
At 160, Preston Nelson lost by fall to Hunter Kohler of Phillipsburg in the first round at 0:52, then came up short in a 9-2 decision against Jacob Griffith of Minneapolis. Nelson completed his senior season with a 22-15 mark.
At 182, Levi Mendoza lost 5-2 in the opening round to Evan Brandt. He then lost by fall in the first consolation round Jared Burrows of (Lakin) at 4:19. Mendoza was 25-20 as a sophomore.
?I think it is fairly obvious that these four young men did not perform at the level they had hoped to going into Hays,? coach Scott O?Hare said. ?We all felt pretty good about our matchups on Friday, but they really needed to go out strong and aggressive early on to set the tone.
?However, all four came out a little tentative and seemed to allow the nerves, the atmosphere and the situation to get to them just a bit,? he added.
?We had talked a lot throughout the week that nothing would come easy and that they had to wrestle every moment with a championship mindset. Instead, they seemed apprehensive and scared to make mistakes.?
In a change of format from previous years, no consolation matches were wrestled on Friday. As a result, all four Hillsboro wrestlers did not return to the mat until Saturday morning.
?Although I didn?t really like the change, in our situation I think it gave them all an opportunity to regroup and change their mental approach,? O?Hare said. ?Although Jon was the only one to win his opening round match on Saturday, I felt all four of them competing much better. Cody, Preston and Levi’s elimination matches were all very competitive and much closer than the final results indicate.?
O?Hare said the team will miss the three seniors, Delk, Nelson and Matt Reeh, but he expects Carey, Mendoza and Jesse Meier to form a solid core for next season.