With a lineup ill-suited for the format, the Hillsboro wrestling team finished 13th among the 16 teams competing at the Marion County Winter Duals Tournament Friday.
The tournament, co-hosted by Hillsboro and Marion, started with four four-team pools. After the four schools squared off against each other in a round-robin format, the teams were assigned to a bracket matching them with comparable team finishes from the other three pools.
The Trojans, battling the loss of forfeit points because of open spots in six of the 14 weight classes, lost all three duals in its pool: 48-24 to Riley County, 42-30 to Douglass and 60-12 to Wellington.
“Due to having six open weight classes throughout the tournament, giving up six points for every one of them if the other team had a wrestler at that weight, the team scores are not a great indication of how the team performed,” coach Scott O’Hare said. “Based on just matches contested on the mat, we would have tied Riley County, 24-24, and beat Douglass, 30-12.”
The Trojans did fare well in the four-team bracket, where they competed for 13th place with the fourth-place teams from the other three pools. In the first round, Hillsboro defeated Republic County, 30-12, then outscored Chaparral, 30-18.
Chanute won the tournament title with a 5-0 record. They were followed by Smoky Valley (4-1), Fredonia (4-1), Wellington (2-2), Minneapolis (4-1), Riley County (3-2), Clay Center (3-2), Marion (2-3), Rock Creek (3-2), Douglass (2-3), Clearwater (2-3), Bluestem (1-4), Hillsboro (2-3), Chaparral (1-4), Wabaunsee (1-4) and Republic (0-5).
“Obviously, I am not pleased with a 13th-place team finish, but considering we had two varsity wrestlers still out of the lineup with injuries, and one other that was battling flu-like symptoms throughout the day, I was pleased at how the guys competed,” O’Hare said.
“Both Coach Schenk and I agree that we got better from a week ago. That is our primary goal at this time—to continue to improve every day.”
The Trojans got outstanding performances from freshman Austin Cross, who went 5-0 at 145 pounds, junior Preston Nelson, 4-1 at 152, and senior Tyrell Thiessen, 4-1 at 185.
“I thought Austin, Preston and Tyrell all looked pretty solid throughout the day,” O’Hare said. “Austin still made some mistakes, but he took care of business, never really being in trouble in any match.
“Preston’s technique continues to improve, and he really dominated in all of his wins. His lone loss was a match he was leading at the time when he hit a nice head lock, but his opponent had a nice counter and ended up putting Preston on his back and secure the pin.
“Tyrell looked much better than last week, after getting back to good health and getting a full week of practice in. His lone loss was to the No. 1 ranked wrestler in 3-2-1A in his weight.”
Tanner Jones, who joins Thiessen as the team’s returning state qualifiers, was able to wrestle only one match in his last opportunity to compete at home.
“He was not feeling well most of the day, but he had an opportunity to meet the No. 2 ranking wrestler in 3-2-1A and he wanted to try to go,” O’Hare said. “In that match, he really struggled with low levels of energy and ended up suffering a shoulder injury in the match. Fortunately, we have some time to get him back to health, so we decided not to wrestle him the rest of the day.”
Jesse Meier went 2-3 after winning his first two matches of the day.
“He met some very solid competition later in the day and suffered some frustrating losses, but he continues to work so hard and improve tremendously,” O’Hare said.
Zac Ghahremanzadeh went 2-3 with two forfeit wins and Levi Mendoza was 1-4.
“They are both in a difficult situation, being asked to wrestle at the varsity level with fairly limited experience in upper weights against mostly upperclassmen,” O’Hare said.
The Trojans gained a competitor on the lightest end of the lineup when James Mercer made his varsity debut at 113 pounds.
“He showed a lot of heart, toughness and potential, winning one match on the day,” O’Hare said.
Coming—With the completion of Friday’s tournament, the Trojans wrapped up their pre-holiday schedule. They return to action Jan. 5 at Herington.