Cross earns regional championship at 145 pounds
Four Hillsboro High School wrestlers qualified for the state tournament Friday and Saturday in Hays.
Three Trojans wrestled in championship matches on Saturday in Fredonia — Austin Cross at 145 pounds, Tanner Jones at 170, and Tyrell Thiessen at 285.
Cross was the only one to walk away with a regional championship. It was a dominant tournament for the freshman wrestler where he won every match by pin. In the final against Ryan Lahey of Eerie, Cross was already up 7-0 after the first round with two takedowns and a near pin. He recorded a pin late in the second round. Throughout the match, Cross used his considerable height advantage to counter his opponent’s shots and keep the Eerie wrestler on the mat.
Head coach Scott O’Hare said the victory is important to Cross’s position going into the state tournament because each regional champion receives a No. 1 slot in one of four brackets. Cross will face Brandon Schoenthaler of Wakeeney-Trego County at Hays.
“He’s got a lot of talent, a lot of potential he needs to keep tapping into,” O’Hare said.
Jones defeated Dusty Cook of Cherryvale in a hard fought match, 3-2, in the semifinal round. Cook was ranked fifth in class 3-2-1A. Jones had struggled to gain victories over ranked opponents this season.
Jones lost 7-5 in the championship match to No. 1 seed Derek Bayless of Caney Valley, ranked fourth in 3-2-1A. Jones was down 7-2 after two rounds but mounted a comeback attempt in the third round with a takedown and an escape.
Jones defeated Josh Forbes of Eerie and Dane Ergo of Douglass by pins in the first two rounds on Friday. He is 32-11 on the season.
This is Jones second consecutive state berth. He will face Dalton Blow of Onaga in the first round at Hays.
“They’re just good kids,” O’Hare said of Jones matches against state-ranked opponents. “He just has to beat one of them. He has as good a chance as any to win a state medal.”
It will also be the second trip for Thiessen. Thiessen dominated the early rounds of the tournament, defeating Kolten Carbon of Mound City Jayhawk Linn, Quinten McGhee of Remington, and Jake Green of Richmond Central Heights by pin all in the first round of each match.
The championship match against Billy Mersereau of Cherryvale went differently. The match was spent primarily with the two wrestlers entwined standing with their hands at their heads. The first round ended at 1-0, with Mersereau scoring on a penalty. Starting in down position, Thiessen quickly spun around the Cherryvale wrestler for two points but gave up an escape to tie the match at 2. In the third, Mersereau scored an escape after starting on bottom and did not allow Thiessen to go on the attack in the final minute.
“They slowed the match down,” O’Hare said of the Cherryvale strategy. “It keeps Tyrell from being the athlete he is. He needs to try to create angles instead of attacking straight at him.”
Thiessen has a 33-7 record this season. He will face Laramie Lumley of Sublette in the first round at Hays.
Jon Carey placed fourth in the 120-pound bracket. He defeated Tristan Fetters of Council Grove 5-0 and Remington Putter of Marion by pin before losing to eventual champion Sam Aylor of Fredonia 7-0 in the semifinal. Carey punched his ticket to state with a second win over Fetters, 12-5. Carey is now 12-15 on the season after starting his sophomore campaign with an injury.
“The more mat time he gets the more comfortable he is,” O’Hare said.
Carey lost to Taylor Wilmarth of Wellsville in the third-place match, 8-6.