Prep wrestling: Balance is the Burros' way
For a change, there's no sure thing in Hillsboro's wrestling lineup. Over the last three seasons, the Burros had wrestlers such as Tanner Boeddeker, Andrew Grothmann and Anthony Von Ruden -- individuals who rarely lost and could be counted on to ...
For a change, there's no sure thing in Hillsboro's wrestling lineup.
Over the last three seasons, the Burros had wrestlers such as Tanner Boeddeker, Andrew Grothmann and Anthony Von Ruden -- individuals who rarely lost and could be counted on to win in every tournament. Boedekker was a state champion last season, while Von Ruden and Grothmann won in 2009, the second straight for Grothmann.
"We don't have that one guy who we expect to walk through every tournament," Hillsboro senior Alex McLean said. "We have guys who we know can make the finals. But we expect dogfights."
It has been a season of mores for the Burros, who compete today at the North Dakota Class B Region 2 individual tournament in Larimore. The top four finishers in each weight class qualify for the state tournament, which begins Thursday in Fargo.
There has been more uncertainty as to who would be in a championship in any given tournament this season. But there also have been more potential finalists.
"We'd always have the same one or two kids getting to the finals in tournaments the last few years, and they'd win most of the time," Hillsboro coach Eric Ptacek said. "We're a little more balanced this year.
"We're getting more kids to the finals. But we're probably not getting as many titles."
Tyler Anderson has been the Burros' top individual. He takes a 32-3 record to the regional. He's made the finals in all five individual tournaments in which the Burros have competed, winning three.
No other Burro has more than one tournament title this season. McLean (30-5) and Thomas Doeden (30-8) have one championship each and two seconds in three tournament finals. Oakly Zink (19-7) and Josh Riendeau (27-9) both have split two championship matches. Dylan Bowen (23-8) has reached three tournament championship matches, but is still looking for his first title.
In all, Hillsboro has a 7-13 record in championship matches.
"I'd like that percentage to be higher," Ptacek said. "We want to not just get to the finals, but win them."
The final region coaches' poll reflects Hillsboro's balance.
Three Burros were ranked first in the region, Anderson (140 pounds), Zink (152) and McLean (189). Three others are ranked second, Bowen (171), Brice Willison (215) and Doeden (285).
Ptacek said he expects Anderson, McLean, Doeden, Zink, Riendeau and Bowen all to be in the finals at the regional today. He wouldn't be surprised to see any of those six wrestling for a championship at the state tournament. "Or we could have none in the finals at state," Ptacek said.
"I don't think there's pressure on these kids. Realistically, none of them will be seeded No. 1 at state. But all of them have been competitive with the best in the state at their weights.
"I feel we have a realistic shot at getting any of those six in the finals at state. It probably would take some upsets as far as beating higher seeds. But they all have legitimate shots."
While Hillsboro has a different look as far as not having one dominant wrestler, McLean hopes the Burros will be similar to past teams.
"Hillsboro is known for coming through at the end of the year, of doing well at the regional and state tournaments," he said. "I think we're capable of winning at a lot of weights."
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