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Depleted roster challenging for Trojans grapplers

Staff writer

During his stint as Hillsboro wrestling coach, Scott O’Hare has often had the luxury of fielding a large team with several wrestlers contending for solid seasons.

That won’t be the case this year.

With only 10 wrestlers, O’Hare won’t be able to fill all weight classes.

Up through Christmas break, five or six classes will be all Hillsboro may be able to fill.

“Not being able to field a full line-up obviously makes it difficult to compete at a high level from a team aspect, but it also makes partnering in practice difficult,” O’Hare said. “This group will be forced to practice with basically the same couple of people every day with little variety.

“Having a variety of practice partners allows wrestlers to compete against different styles and techniques, which will have them better prepared for competition.”

Gone is the Trojans’ lone state qualifier, Travis King, who graduated and opted to wrestle for Cowley College.

Two of O’Hare’s wrestlers figuring to make an impact were sidelined with injuries from football season.

Sophomore Raymond Johnston suffered a leg injury and senior Jaden Priest’s career was finished in summer due to concussions.

About all that’s left is senior Mackenzie Bartel, who has three years of varsity experience along with placing in multiple tournaments throughout his career.

His aggressive style should cause him to be a force to reckon with at either the 113- or 120-pound slot.

A cooperative agreement with Canton-Galva will give O’Hare the help of sophomore Taryn Norstrom, who gained valuable varsity experience a year ago. She will likely fill the 145-pound class.

Freshman Charlie Major at 113 pounds has limited experience but is improving daily, O’Hare said.

Canton-Galva sophomore Andre Patton will help at 138 pounds, but transfer student rules will keep him out of the lineup until second semester.

Perhaps the most anticipated newcomer is freshman Jordan Bachman.

After many years of competing with the Hillsboro wrestling club, Bachman arrives as the most experienced wrestler on the roster, finishing middle school with an impressive 14-1 record.

“We’ll be going into this season with very little regard to overall team performance, but rather individual performances,” said O’Hare. “Our immediate goals are to compete every day and get better every time we step on the mat.

“We hope to develop mental toughness and battle for every point in every match. If this group can keep that as their focus, wins and losses will take care of themselves. Overall, this is a raw group of wrestlers, but I am excited to see what they can accomplish with the right mindset and work ethic.”

Last modified Nov. 29, 2017

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