After a quarterfinal bye, Hillsboro senior Max Sebranek was forced to sit and wait for more than five hours of Saturday’s Scenic Ridge and Rivers Conference Tournament.
Finally, a little after 3 p.m. the Tigers’ 195-pound standout took the mat for his first match of the day.
But a half day of waiting, a sluggish semifinal match, nor Cashton’s Tanner Von Ruden could deny Sebranek his first individual conference title.
After playing the waiting game Sebranek (30–7) survived tougher than expected semifinal match with Brookwood’s Devin Barry (24–13).
Sebranek needed a takedown in double overtime to escape with a 7–5 victory.
In the championship match, Sebranek got an early takedown and was never threatened by Von Ruden (23–12) en route to a 10–5 victory.
“When you sit around all day waiting for your first match at a tournament like this, it can be kind of tough,” said Hillsboro head coach Snapper Verbsky. “Max had a tough match in the semifinals against a good wrestler from Brookwood, but he came back and wrestled much, much better in the finals. It was a good day for Max.”
Sebranek, a state qualifier a year ago, finished third at conference at 182 pounds a year ago, and second at 170 as a sophomore.
“I’m really happy for him,” added Verbsky. “Winning a conference title is quite an accomplishment.”
The rest of Hillsboro’s injury-riddled team was severely shorthanded on Saturday.
With four wrestlers on the injured list, two out for the season, Hillsboro had just six healthy wrestlers at conference.
Sophomore Dylan Thew placed sixth in the six-man 220-pound class.
Senior Tyler Seeley (9–15) went 2–2, but did not place in the loaded 152-pound bracket.
Freshman Mitchell Morris (113, 7–14), sophomore Mitch Beckwith (120, 3–13) and senior Katie Blaha (132, 1–17) each went 0–2 and did not place in their respective weight classes.
“It’s not so great that we didn’t place and some went 0–2, but it was a positive learning experience, especially for our younger wrestlers,” said Verbsky.
Hillsboro was without senior Logan Rohn (120), sophomore Nolan Hammer (145), junior Sebastion Miller (160) and junior Warren Paulson (170) on Saturday.
Rohn (8–16) injured his knee a week ago in practice and is done for the season.
Paulson (4–12) suffered a severe shoulder injury at the Hillsboro Invitational a couple weeks back and is also finished for the season.
Hammer (14–11) suffered a spinal injury in Hillsboro’s dual meet loss to Weston/Ithaca two weeks ago and may return for regionals on Saturday.
Miller (3–5) has been out most of the season with concussion symptoms. There is an outside chance he may also return for Saturday’s WIAA Division 3 Hillsboro Regional.
“It’s been a frustrating year with all the injuries,” said Verbsky. “Wrestling is a long season to begin with, with lots of matches and tournaments so injuries are going to happen. But unfortunately we’ve hit a bad run of some pretty serious injuries. When you show up to the conference meet with only six wrestlers it’s not a lot of fun for the kids or us coaches.”
Hillsboro scored 27 teams points Saturday and finished 12th out of 12 teams. Cashton again won the conference tournament title with 205 team points.