Short-handed Trojans take second at Hesston
Another week, another strong performance for the Hillsboro High School wrestling team.
Even with just 11 wrestlers due to an injury and an SAT test, the Trojans placed seven in the top four, and had five athletes wrestle in their respective championship matches.
Nicholas Mueller (135 pounds), Tyler Jones (145), and Jacob Yoder (189) all left Hesston as the champion of their classes.
Alex Jost (112) and Frankie Martin (171) finished as runners-up, while John Hein (215) was third and Lonnie Benda (152) was fourth.
"This was a nice performance from the boys in such an early-season tournament," head coach Scott O'Hare said. "One aspect that was very promising was the fact all 11 wrestlers who competed contributed to the final team score."
As a team Hillsboro finished second out of 17 with a final score of 155.5, just 7.5 points behind champion Smoky Valley, and 20 points ahead of third place Marion.
"It's hard to imagine putting five wrestlers in the championship finals, winning three of them, and not coming out on top in the team race," O'Hare said.
But that was the case.
Still, it was hard for O'Hare to find anything wrong.
Especially considering three of his top wrestlers, Yoder, Mueller, and Jones, are still undefeated on the season.
Yoder and Mueller won the Hesston title for the second year in a row by defeating state qualifiers from a year ago, and Jones claimed his first.
Martin was a bit of a surprise with his second-place finish, but O'Hare knew he saw something in the junior he liked.
"Although I am very aware of his ability and never doubted he could wrestle his way into the championship match, it was the way he did it that is very promising," he said.
As the fourth seed, Martin had to defeat the number-one team in his bracket, and he did so "in dominating fashion" according to O'Hare, 14-2.
Benda and Hein both battled hard to get into a medal round according to O'Hare after losing matches early on.
"It says a lot about their character and their will," O'Hare said.
Overall O'Hare was happy with his team when they boarded the bus to head back home, and he knows if the Trojans were at full strength, they could have brought home a championship trophy.
"It is hard to speculate, but with the team scoring coming down to only a 7.5-point difference, it is hard to believe that the outcome would not have been different," he said.
The junior varsity Trojans will be in action at 9:30 a.m. Saturday for a home match.