Led by three talented seniors, Hillsboro's wrestling team is poised for a late surge

This season, the Hillsboro wrestling team has been extraordinarily good at times. There have also been times when the Spartans just were not up to the caliber that they have come to expect of themselves.

“We’ve had a couple of letdowns this year where we just didn’t wrestle our best,” head coach Adam Reese says. “But then there’s been other times when we’ve come together as a group and had one of the deepest squads that we’ve had in a while. by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Hillsboro's Brody Morse wrestles Forest Grove's Catarino Rodriguez at 220 pounds during a Pacific Conference dual meet last Thursday.

“That was evidenced in the Oregon Classic, which is considered the Oregon state dual meet championships. We ended up taking third and beating a perennial powerhouse in Roseburg. We just wrestled great down there, but then the night before we left, we didn’t wrestle our best ... and lost a close dual against a great Century squad.”

Reese credits the way the season was scheduled for much of his team’s success.

“The season this year has been set up really nice,” he says. “We really went hard at the beginning of the year wrestling in some tough tournaments, including the Reno Tournament of Champions, which is the toughest tournament in America. Then we had a nice little break at Christmas. Then in January it was a really tough month for us with three big tournaments and some tough duals.”

This season, the Spartans have been led by the senior trio of John Morin, Dauki Wilburn and Alex Harnsberger.

“I don’t like to call them the ‘Big Three’ because it takes the whole team, but we have our ‘Big Three,’” Reese says.

“(Morin) has probably been wrestling the best this year,” Reese says. “He’s been wrestling lights out this year. He took fourth in state last year at 160 pounds, but he’s jumped all the way up to 195 and 182. He ended up taking second in the Reno Tournament of Champions. He made the finals and surprised a lot of people. It didn’t surprise us. He’s one of the top guys in America.

“He’s been having a phenomenal year and really wrestling well. He should have a great end of the season.”

“(Wilburn) is our 113-pounder,” Reese says. “He took second in state last year. He’s a two-time state placer and he’s come back and been wrestling great. He was a district champ last year.”

“(Harnsberger) is a 132-pounder or a 138-pounder,” Reese says. “He’s been wrestling great. He took sixth in state last year.”

As the season begins winding down, the Spartans are already gearing up for the state championship meet.

“Right now, we’re just trying to clean stuff up and get healthy,” Reese says. “We just want to get in really good shape for the end-of-the-year push. We want to finish strong in two weeks at state.”

When the Spartans step under the state’s brightest lights, Reese and every wrestler will have only the highest expectations.

“We always talk about a state championship,” Reese says. “That’s why we wrestle. That’s what we shoot for year in and year out. Of course to win a state title, you have to be healthy. You’ve got to win some matches that you weren’t supposed to win. But, that’s our No. 1 goal. That’s what we’re shooting for.

“Now, there’s been times when we’re probably not going to win a state title, but we’re always shooting for hardware. That’s probably our main push, getting into that top four spot and bringing home some hardware. That’s what I look for.”

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