The Hillsboro wrestling team is gearing up for this Saturday’s Scenic Ridge and Rivers Conference meet.
The young Tigers have made great strides in the past year and are looking to improve upon last year’s sixth place finish at the 12-team combined conference meet when they travel to Cashton this weekend.
“We would like to finish in the top five as a team and I think that is a realistic goal this year for us,” said Hillsboro head coach Snapper Verbsky.
The Tigers will be without freshman 182-pounder Jake McCoic (6–10), who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in practice two weeks ago, but Verbsky expects sophomore 145-pounder Dane Bach (17–8) to be back after missing Hillsboro’s final two dual meets with a concussion.
The Tigers finished the regular season 5–3 overall and 2–3 in Scenic Bluffs Conference duals after a 41–30 loss to SBC dual meet champion New Lisbon on Jan. 21, and a 57–24 loss to second-place Cashton last Tuesday, Jan. 26.
The Rockets (9–0, 5–0 SBC) and host Eagles (7–3, 4–1 SBC) are the favorites to win Saturday’s tournament, but Verbsky is confident his Tigers can make some noise.
“We are pretty healthy going in and we have a number of guys that have the potential to preform very well this weekend,” said Verbsky. “It’s been a great season so far. We have improved a great deal. Last year, we only had two dual meet wins and to go from that to five wins is exciting. We have good numbers and have placed well in our tournaments, and we are still a young team.
“We only have one senior and two juniors, and have good numbers in our middle school program which bodes well for the future of Hillsboro wrestling.”
Verbsky listed sophomores Jason Griffiths (22–9, 113 pounds), Jacob Urban (23–8, 170) and senior Jacob Benish (17–8, 195) as potential conference title contenders.
Griffths placed third at 106 pounds a year ago at conference. He went on to qualify for sectionals.
Urban placed fifth at 152 at conference last year as a freshman, while Benish finished second at 195 as a junior.
He also noted Bach (17–8, 145), sophomore Dakota Wells (13–12, 120), freshman Yobani Mora (11–12, 126) and junior Mitchell Morris (9–7, 132) could surprise some people on Saturday.
In last Tuesday’s loss to Cashton, Morris, sophomore Reece Hammer (9–12) and Benish each scored pins at 132, 182 and 195 pounds respectively. Griffiths picked up a forfeit at 113 to account for the Tigers’ other six points.