On Tuesday, January 19, the Hillsboro Hawks Boys Varsity Wrestling team traveled to Hannibal Missouri to take on the Pirates of Hannibal High School. The meet-up saw the Hawks dispatch the Pirates in succinct fashion, winning the dual 64-12. Head Coach Matt Mitchell noted, “We are happy we made the trip. We won a lot of close matches. They are one of those teams that you see at the state tournament.” This win puts the Hawks dual record at 28-1 this season.
In total, of the 11 contested weight classes, Hillsboro won nine. The first three weight classes were won by decision. Aidan Black, wrestling at the 106 lb. weight class started it off with a decision victory by the score of 8-2. Gavin Alexander wrestled next at 113, and won a major decision by the score of 14-1. At 120, Aidan Haggard won a close decision 3-2.
Mitchell had a lot to say about Black, and noted, “Black had a big match. He really actually dominated a kid in a match that we thought was going to be much closer. He looked really good. It’s a tough adjustment being a freshman at the Varsity level. Black has had his ups and downs this year. I am really happy to see him get this win. I hope he builds off of it going forward and into the state series.”
The rest of the Hillsboro wins came by pin. At 126, Sam Richardson made quick work of his opponent, pinning him in just 10 seconds. At 138, Dalton Litzsinger pinned his opponent in 1:24. Griffin Ray, at 152, took only 25 seconds to win by pin. At 182, Nicholas Green pinned his opponent in 3:17. The fastest pin of the night was by Zach McNees at 195, who took a mere seven seconds to pin his opponent. Hunter Rhodes, at 220, earned the final pin in 4:12. Rhodes commented on how he has managed to keep winning, “My teammates help me stay motivated every week to improve and stay on track.”
Green and Rhodes also impressed Mitchell, who said, “Green was down his whole match and came up with a big move for a win. He was able to keep in the match. He fought hard and ended up getting the win. It was nice to see him compete hard with his opponent.” Mitchell went on, “Rhodes wrestled a quality opponent. He stayed in good position all match and was able to get the fall in the third. He wrestled very well.”
The Hawks are sitting pretty, but they know it’s not over yet. McNees commented that there is more work left to do, and said, “I just gotta get in the room and keep working to get a state title!”
A rivalry with Hannibal could be in the making. Mitchell commented, “Hannibal has some good kids. I am glad we were able to work something out this year. We look forward to hosting them this time next year. I think we could have a great little rivalry brewing the next couple years.”
Up next for the Varsity squad is a two-day SEMO tournament in Poplar Bluff taking place this weekend, January 22 and 23. This will be the final event for the team before the district tournament.