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Trojan grapplers snag third place Saturday at Hesston

Yoder, Delk runners-up, Mueller, King, third

Sports writer

Having a third-place finish in a tournament isn’t the greatest thing to happen to Trojan wrestling coach Scott O’Hare.

But considering the character that his team has shown early in the year, it isn’t necessarily a step backward.

That paid dividends Saturday in Hesston as Hillsboro finished third out of 17 teams, with two second-place finishes, two thirds, and three fourth-place finishes.

The Trojans scored 106 points— 26.5 behind runner-up Marion, and 75.5 behind tournament champion Smoky Valley.

“I can’t say that I am satisfied with finishing third place in the team race. However, I am pleased with the performance overall in such an early season tournament,” O’Hare said. “One aspect that was particularly promising was the improvements shown since our first competition a week ago.

“Also, a number of these guys were competing in their first ever varsity tournament. I felt they handled the increase in the level of competition very well.”

Matt Yoder and Dylan Delk each finished second in the 135- and 171-pound classes, respectively, and Bret Mueller and Jared King took third in the 119- and 152-pound classes.

Freshman Lucas Sinclair, and juniors Justin King and Aaron Bina came in fourth.

After a first-round bye, Yoder took down Halstead’s Tanner Strohl in 5 minutes, 4 seconds before edging Marion’s Andy Shipman, 13-7, in the semifinals.

Despite a hard-fought match, Smoky Valley’s 2008 Class 4A medalist Zach Cook was able to outlast Yoder, 5-2, for the championship and for Yoder’s first setback of the year.

“Matt’s technique is so much further advanced already at this point in the season,” O’Hare said.

“As it continues to improve, he should continue to have a very successful senior season.” Delk also got a first-round bye before pinning Garden Plain’s Dylan Elkins in 3:24.

Delk took care of Marion’s Andrew Kjellin by an 8-4 decision to advance to the finals against the Swathers’ Shawn Moffett. Moffett was able to pin Delk in 5 minutes, but Delk was still able to earn his first varsity medal along with his first championship match.

“Dylan has contributed as a varsity wrestler in each of the last two seasons, but we are hoping and expecting this to be a big confidence boost for him toward a breakout season,” O’Hare said.

Mueller’s day got off on the wrong foot after a first-round bye as he stumbled to Marion’s eventual champion, Randy Regnier, 6-2.

Mueller capped off the day going 2-1, defeating McPherson’s Ethan Fowler in 1:07 before disposing of Garden Plain’s Cole Leis, a 2008 state qualifier, in 3:47 for third place.

King’s day also started rough, as he stumbled in his first match by a crushing 2-1 decision against Smoky Valley’s runner-up Tyler Peterson.

But King bounced back, pinning Nickerson’s Xavier Lyon in 1:06, and defeating Halstead’s Peyton Wingert by a 9-1 decision to set up a third-place showdown with Marion’s Tyler Neil.

King was able to grab a third-place medal topping Neil, 6-2.

“That was a big disappointment, as Jared had looked very good in practice to this point and seemed to be primed for an outstanding senior season,” O’Hare said of King’s first round loss.

“By the end of the day, much of the disappointment had diminished, as he came back and won three consecutive matches, including the final two against quality opponents from Halstead and Marion. In those two matches, Jared wrestled the way we had expected to see him compete.”

Perhaps two of the Trojans’ biggest surprises of the tournament came from Sinclair and Justin King. The 125-pound Sinclair made short work of West Elk’s Gage Hall, securing a pin in a mere 53 seconds.

Sinclair kept rolling and pinning Class 5As Kapaun-Mt. Carmel’s Austin Dougherty in 1:42 to advance to the semifinal match against Central-Burden’s Stetson Deets.

Deets was too strong, picking up the pin in 53 seconds, en route to first place.

Sinclair went on to knock off Garden Plain’s Jon Washabaugh in the consolation bracket in 1:27 before sustaining a pin by Smoky Valley’s Tyler Fritz in the third-place match in 3:53.

Junior Justin King’s day began with a pin in a minute on Bluestem’s Cody Easterday in the 145-pound class.

King had a tough battle in the quarterfinals against Hesston’s William DuBry, eventually pinning him in 3:02, to move on to the semifinals against Nickerson’s Jordan Newton.

Newton spoiled King’s chances of wrestling for first place, pinning him in 58 seconds, but King went on to top McPherson’s Max Archer by a 24-11 decision in the consolation bracket.

King’s hopes of third place ended in a 9-1 score to Smoky’s Jake Johnson.

“Maybe two of the most pleasant surprises of the weekend came from junior Justin King and freshman Lucas Sinclair,” O’Hare said. “Both competing in their first ever varsity tournament action, they contributed valuable team points by combining for five victories, four of them by fall, and each earning placement points for the team.

“These two guys work so hard and continue to improve every day. I am very happy with their progress and performance.”

The 160-pound Bina came out strong, defeating Bluestem’s Dakota Barnhart in 5:55 before suffering his first loss of the year — a pin in 3:44 to Smoky Valley’s runner-up Ian Lackey.

Bina then went on to defeat Garden Plain’s Nathan Becker, a 2009 regional runner-up, by a 4-0 decision to get a shot a third place against Marion’s Colten Johnson.

Johnson outlasted Bina, 7-5, for third.

“This tournament concludes the pre-Christmas schedule for the varsity,” O’Hare said. “It gives us a good feel for where we are at. We will use the next couple of weeks to continue to improve on our technique and look forward to seeing what we can accomplish the remainder of the season.”

The Trojans return to action next year, traveling to Halstead Jan. 7.

Last modified Dec. 17, 2009

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