Senior quartet to lead Hillsboro wrestling
In seven astounding seasons of leading the Trojan wrestling team, some of the things coach Scott O’Hare has usually been able to count on are depth, talent, and experience.
Part of the reason for his success has been a big roster, which makes practice more challenging.
O’Hare’s eighth-year team doesn’t have the numbers with 15 on his roster, but he may be able to fill all but two of his weight classes (103- and 140-pound).
However, outside of the senior quartet of Darren Mueller (125), Justin King (145), Aaron Bina (160), and Dylan Delk, there’s not much varsity experience among Trojan wrestlers.
Delk’s in the process of fitting in either the 171- or 189-pound division.
Senior Matt Wiebe went 16-2 a year ago wrestling for the junior varsity team and should be capable of handling varsity competition in his probable 152-pound class.
“With a core of returning letter-winners throughout the lineup, we have something to build around,” O’Hare said. “The key will be to get them spread out in the lineup and bring some less experienced and younger wrestlers along to fill the gaps.
That could be pivotal in bettering Hillsboro’s 7-7 record a year ago in duals as the Trojans gave up forfeits in four weight classes.
“I expect this to be a very coachable and hard working group, so as their technique continues to develop, I believe we have the potential to be very competitive.”
The Trojans do have potential, but without Matt Yoder and Jared King — two of Hillsboro’s three state qualifiers a year ago — Bina’s the only wrestler with any state experience as a two-time qualifier.
The 2009-10 season marked a tough finish for the trio of Darren and Bret Mueller and Delk, who narrowly missed advancing to Hays.
Darren wrapped up the year going 19-18, highlighted by a third-place finish at Remington while wrestling at 130.
After an offseason of hard work, a determined Darren slimmed down to the 125-pound class this year.
The junior Bret came on strong toward the middle of the season to finish .500 at 17-17, notching a runner-up finish at Remington in the 119-pound class.
Bret’s bulked up during the offseason to fill the 130-pound slot. Regardless of where he’s at, Bret’s determination makes him a formidable opponent.
Delk’s been bouncing around weight classes the last three years, wrestling at 140 as a sophomore and 171 a year ago.
During the football season, Delk grew to 190 pounds. He’ll have to slim down to either fit 171 or perhaps the 189-pound division, where he could be undersized.
Delk was 18-13 a year ago, but a rugged field ended his season at the Marion regional.
Justin King, Jared’s brother, added a pair of runner-up finishes at Herington and Remington to leave him with a 23-16 record.
As a two-time state qualifier, Bina could be O’Hare’s top competitor, along with Delk.
Bina ended his junior year at 23-14, notching a runner-up finish at an always solid Eureka tournament.
He finished fourth at regionals, but his 0-2 showing at Hays should be enough to fuel his desire in his last season.
Bina’s the other wrestler facing a dilemma of deciding which class to fit into. He’ll have to lose to return to the 160-pound class, or have to gain to move up to 171.
Wiebe and sophomore Tanner Jones could fit either at 152 or 160 to provide depth.
Jones was 17-6 for junior varsity, jumping back and forth between 145 and 152. O’Hare’s looking for big things from this newcomer. He’s slated for the 160-pound class and his ability to handle the bigger jump is unknown.
Sophomore newcomer Mitchell Day, and freshman Jake Jost are two others looking to fill in at varsity at 119 and 112, respectively.
Filling out the other classes are freshmen River Cecil (119), Cody Delk (135), exchange students Nadari Lomidze (171) and Diego Castillo (189), senior newcomer Daniel Kenney (215), and freshman heavyweight Matt Reeh.
With a newly formed Central Kansas League, O’Hare can expect a deep conference with Halstead, Lyons, and Smoky Valley possibly fielding tough teams.
Class 4A Pratt could also be stiff competition and seven of the 10 schools in the league with be at the tournament Feb. 12 at Pratt.
Hillsboro faces a mean schedule both in duals and in tournaments.
In the first tournament of the year Saturday, Hillsboro travels to Hesston and the usual Herington, Eureka, Remington, Halstead, and Hoisington tournaments remain.
A new addition to the schedule is the Dec. 17 Marion County Dual Tournament with both the Warriors and the Trojans sharing the role of hosting schools.
The 12-team field will be grouped into four pools with two pools competing at each site.
The top two teams from each of the four pools then advance to an eight-team bracket at Marion before the four remaining teams compete in a round-robin at Hillsboro.
Afterward, the teams will be placed one through 12.
“Right now, it looks as if our dual schedule could be tough,” O’Hare said. “We might be giving up forfeits at as many as four weight classes and have some inexperienced wrestlers sprinkled into the varsity lineup.
“However, I believe we could become a strong tournament team. If we stay healthy, build off previous years, and continue to improve, this team has a handful of wrestlers that should contend for medals and individual titles at many tournaments.”