Fox and Seckman High Schools hosted the Ron Sauer duals tournament on Saturday, December 5, and showed Missouri which team may be the potential state champions. The Hillsboro Hawks are that team, and continued to mow down the competition going 5-0 in duals against Ladue, Rolla, Holt, Seckman and Whitfield. Head Coach Matt Mitchell was excited after the gold medal finish and said, “This was a great test for our kids and they performed really well. We will continue to work hard and make adjustments as needed, but it was nice to come out of the first week of the season at 6-0 in duals against some real quality competition.”
Hillsboro demolished Ladue in the opening dual by the score of 63-5, winning seven out of the eight matches, with six of those wins coming by way of a pin. “We have a group right now that fights for each other and it’s fun to watch,” said Mitchell.
Griffin Ray and Hunter Rhodes both went undefeated in the tournament. Mitchell commented, “Rhodes is really improving in all areas of wrestling. Ray was in control all day and dominated all his opponents.”
Ray, a team leader, said “Right now we got a great group of guys that want to win and are willing to put in the work and I think the culture in the room right now is pushing all of us to do better. I’m loving what we are doing right now, but we’ve still got things to accomplish and titles to win.”
Freshman Sam Richardson continued to shock the competition and his coach. “He beat some solid wrestlers and lost a close 4-2 match to a defending state champion. His attitude right now is that he can beat anyone and he doesn’t care what it takes to win. It was fun to watch him compete in his first Varsity tournament,” said Mitchell. Richardson gives his team the credit for his early success, saying, “We have great practice partners in the wrestling room.”
The Hawks then faced some tougher competition against Rolla, still winning handily 48-28. Of the nine matches, Hillsboro won six, four by fall. Aidan Haggard showed his stuff against Rolla. Mitchell was thrilled, and said, “That was a great win. Haggard is really turning into a Senior leader. He has been great on and off the mat so far this year.” Haggard noted that his goal this year is to be a state placer.
Hillsboro then manhandled Holt winning 48-27. This time there were 10 matches, and Hillsboro won seven, with four of those by pin. Evan Morris went 4-1 on the day and remained strong. “Morris is just solid in all positions. He is disciplined in all areas. I believe he has a great season ahead of him,” said Mitchell.
Seckman gave Hillsboro the most trouble, but the Hawks still managed to stay undefeated by the score of 40-27. Of the 11 matches, seven were won by Hillsboro, four by way of fall. Mitchell noted, “That dual was back and forth. It was a good win for the program and the kids were really into it.”
Senior Zach McNees went 4-1 and had a close match against Seckman. Mitchell said, “I know he wants that one back. We are set to dual them again in a couple weeks. I know he will be thinking about making adjustments and get that win back.” McNees tries to remain calm under pressure, and said, “I try not to think too much about each match, but I definitely think about the work my teammates and I put in to be great.”
Sophomore Nate Barnett is one to watch. He finished 4-1, and impressed Mitchell, who said, “He is a hard worker. He listens well and is really starting to improve his wrestling skills. He is catching some people by surprise, and has improved quite a bit from this time last year.”
Hillsboro also defeated Whitfield 45-21. Of the seven matches, Gavin Alexander, Dalton Litzsinger and Raymund Barnett were the only match winners, but with the additional forfeits, still won the dual. Mitchell commented, “We actually have not won a tournament in over a year, it was nice to bring home some hardware. We will get back to work and keep getting better. This was a nice weekend, but ultimately not the goal we want to achieve this year.”
Hillsboro looks ahead to two duals this week. Wednesday the team travels to Windsor and to Farmington on Thursday. The season has only just begun, but the hard work is already paying off.