Four champions crowned; Hein second
With the end of the regular season just weeks away and a formidable upcoming schedule on tap, one thing that might be beneficial for the Hillsboro High School wrestling team is some much-needed rest.
After three straight weeks of tough tournaments — some lasting two days — Hillsboro finally got a rare Saturday off in January and February.
The Trojans needed one after competing Friday at the Hoisington Cardinal Classic.
Against two of Class 3-2-1A’s top eight teams, and five others, Hillsboro was able to tie the hosting eighth-ranked Cardinals for the top spot with 143.5 points each.
Four Trojans clinched individual titles, one a runner-up finish, and a quartet secured top-four finishes.
The unusual formatted tournament was run using pools and a round-robin format.
Each bracket with six or fewer wrestlers was set up so that every wrestler was matched up head-to-head with everyone else in their weight class.
Brackets with more than six wrestlers were broken into two pools where they wrestled the round-robin format. Wrestlers were then placed into a bracket determined by their finish in their pool.
“This format really maximizes the number of matches everyone gets as opposed to a typical double-elimination bracket format,” said Trojan coach Scott O’Hare. “This is our third year attending this tournament, and I’m really glad we added it.”
The tournament brought a trio of new occurrences for the Trojans with Robby McClelland (119-pounds) and Matt Yoder (135) picking up their first varsity tournament championships.
For six years, James Bina’s 117 career wins has been the epitome of success for Trojans’ wrestling.
Bina moved to second as fourth-ranked Nicholas Mueller (135) posted a 5-0 championship finish Saturday to increase his win total to 120 for his career.
Mueller topped Ellsworth’s third-ranked Levi Schneider, 17-12, for the title.
Tyler Jones (152) also finished a perfect 5-0 for a gold medal.
The Cardinal’s Carl Hickel left an impact on the Trojans already in the fall, ripping Hillsboro for 211 yards in a football loss.
The third-ranked, 189-pound Hickel inflicted more damage on Hillsboro on the mat, dealing fourth-ranked John Hein his second loss this season in the final match.
Despite the fact Hein gave Hickel all he could handle on the mat, footwork slowed the Hillsboro standout down.
“This match gives a good indication of what he needs to work on to get where he wants to be,” O’Hare said of Hein’s setback.
Other highlights came from a pair of third-place finishes from Darren Mueller (125) and Aaron Bina (140).
Bret Mueller (112) and Gabe Anderson (171) were fourth.
“Overall, I was pleased with our performance,” O’Hare said. “Obviously, it was very rewarding for the guys to bring home a team championship plaque for the second week in a row.
“These past two weeks have given us a pretty good look as to where we are and what we need to be doing down the stretch.”
The Trojans have a dual Thursday at Hillsboro against Nickerson and Lyons before traveling Saturday to Gypsum for the SE of Saline dual tournament.
Saturday’s action is set to start at 10 a. m.