The Trojans then won five matches in the consolation bracket to start the day, then won three semifinals matches.
?We vaulted into the lead and held it for most of the day,? coach Scott O?Hare said.
But then the ride took a dip, with three losses in the consolation semifinals, which dropped the team into fourth place heading into the medal round.
At the start of the 189-pound final match featuring undefeated John Hein, Hillsboro was in fourth place, five points out of first. Hein then pinned his opponent to take the title and bump his team back into third place.
Hillsboro?s fate wasn?t determined until the next weight class, where SES still had a wrestler in the hunt who could have vaulted his team into third place with a win?but he lost the match and Hillsboro came away with the third-place plaque.
Joining Hein (15-0) as a gold medalist in a weight class was Nicholas Mueller (13-2), who prevailed at 130 pounds.
?Nicholas did some of his best wrestling of the year,? O?Hare said, which included a pin of Wichita Independent?s Trevor Williamson, ranked No. 4 in Class 4A. Mueller also avenged a loss the previous week with a 9-2 win over Tyler McMichael of Central Burden.
Hillsboro placed three other wrestlers among the top six in their respective classes: Tyler Jones, second at 152; Bret Mueller, fifth at 112; Robby McClelland, fifth at 119; and Gabe Anderson, sixth at 171.
?We have a few guys performing pretty well right now and a few others that are very close to breaking through,? O?Hare said.
?I feel pretty good about the attitude of the team and its competitiveness, but we must continue to correct mistakes and improve on our mental toughness.?
Coming?The Hillsboro varsity will travel to Eureka on Saturday for another invitational tournament. Matches begin a 9 a.m.