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Trojan grapplers stymied at Hays, close frustrating season

Hillsboro finishes in 5-way tie for 43rd

As difficult and as frustrating as it may be, Trojan wrestling coach Scott O’Hare has become familiar with the picture.

O’Hare’s team was short on experience and young, possibly the key challenges Hillsboro faced in matching past years’ success.

Still, the Trojans managed to get seniors Matt Yoder (135) and Jared King (152), and junior Aaron Bina (160) tickets to this year’s Class 321A state wrestling tournament at Hays.

Out of 68 teams, the Trojans finished in a five-way jam for 43rd, scoring 4 points.

The northwest half of Kansas continued to show its dominance against the rest of the state with the Norton Bluejays easily winning their fourth title in six years.

The Bluejays ran roughshod over the competition, beating last year’s champion Smith Center, 174.5 to 80.5, with the Oakley Plainsmen coming in third.

MCAA-league rival Halstead was fourth.

“It was a rather disappointing weekend,” O’Hare said. “I am not disappointed in the kids’ effort, just in the outcome.

“I really felt going into the tournament that all three guys were capable of winning a state medal if they performed up to their potential. As things turned out, we just didn’t perform at the level necessary to do that. I felt like the guys were prepared and they seemed ready. When it was said and done, it just didn’t happen for them this weekend.”

Making his second appearance at Hays in just his second year out, Yoder entered this weekend as the fifth-ranked wrestler in his class.

Yoder and King each wrapped up outstanding careers on 1-2 finishes while Bina ended the year 0-2.

Yoder was the lone Trojan able to win his first-round match, topping Council Grove’s Nathan Ellerman by a 10-2 decision.

Smith Center’s second-ranked and eventual runner-up Kale Newell foiled Yoder’s bid for advancing to the semifinals with a 9-2 win.

Despite the 7-point spread, Yoder’s match was more competitive than indicated.

With Newell clinging to a 4-2 lead heading into the third period and 5-2 in the closing minute, Yoder’s time to mount some offense came late.

In the process, Yoder was taken down to his back, giving up 4 points in the last 10 seconds.

Newell went on to lose to Oakley’s top-ranked Jace Campbell 7-2.

Yoder’s career ended with a 7-3 loss to Phillipsburg’s Matt Schneider.

Yoder took a 1-0 lead in the second period before Schneider tied the score at 1-1 early in the third period. Yoder attempted to attack for a takedown in the third period before giving up a score on the edge of the mat.

He earned an escape to get back to within 1 point, but while trying to take the lead back late, Yoder got out of position and surrendered another takedown.

Perhaps making the loss tougher for Yoder was Eureka’s Chase Mayfield — the wrestler Yoder defeated last week for the regional title — who went on to place fifth.

Yoder had a career record of 31-7.

Qualifying for Hays for the first time in his last go-around was a significant reward for King.

Smith Center’s fourth-ranked Zach Eaton cancelled King’s plans in the first round, prevailing 5-1. Eaton went on to claim fifth place.

King rebounded to shut out Ellsworth’s John Kubick in the first consolation round before dropping a 7-4 heartbreaker to Phillipsburg’s fifth-ranked, Thomas Rachow.

King’s career ended with a 30-8 record.

Bina has another year to build and improve on this year’s success.

His tournament began with losing a 4-2 decision to Holcomb’s Levi Koehn. Bina was eliminated by Matt Menear of Council Grove, 8-3.

Bina closed out his junior season going 23-14.

“After all three were eliminated, it got increasingly frustrating watching the rest of the tournament,” O’Hare said. “At least one wrestler in each of their brackets that they had defeated within the last three weeks continued advancing through the consolation rounds to earn medals.

“It just goes to show that you must be at the top of your game and have some things go your way to earn those state medals.”

Last modified March 4, 2010

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