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Cardinals wrestling team exceeds expectations
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Hoisington High School’s wrestling program was supposed to be entering the rebuilding process.
The Cardinals lost nine seniors after last season, which saw the Hoisington team take first at the regional tournament and send nine wrestlers to the Class 3-2-1A state wrestling tournament.
“We were supposed to be in a rebuilding year,” Hoisington head coach Dan Schmidt said. “We lost nine seniors from last year. Good wrestlers. We were supposed to be in the 10 or 11 range at regionals this year.
“We won more tournaments this year than we did last year, four, and we got second in another,” Schmidt said. “Then we got third at the regional this year.”
This year, Hoisington will be sending five wrestlers to the 3-2-1A state tournament.
Of the five, only one will be going into the tournament for the first time.
Cody Batt, in the 189-pound weight class, had been wrestling for the junior varsity team for the last couple of years.
“Cody’s been wrestling behind a couple of good wrestlers for the last two years, Carl Hickel and Taylor Bullard ,” Schmidt said. “Batt has a 33-6 record, which is not too bad for a first-year varsity wrestler.”
Chance Demel wrestled at 135 last season as a freshman, where he finished in sixth place at state. He will be competing in the 140 weight class.
“Demel was the first freshman state-placer for our high school,” Schmidt said. “He is in one of the most difficult weight classes at state.”
Demel’s record this season is 29-9.
Dalton Bell will be taking his third trip to the state tournament. Last year, he wrestled at 140. This season he is in the 145 weight class and has a record of 34-7.
“(Bell’s) certainly, depending on where he’s at, he can certainly be a top six placer,” Schmidt said. “He has the only undefeated wrester in his quarter.”
The undefeated wrestler is Ky Biddle of Central Burden. Biddle’s record is 32-0. If Bell wins his first-round match, he will likely face Biddle in the second round.
Eric Hellerud has moved up in weight class since last year as well. He went to state wrestling at 160 a year ago. This year, he is in the 171 bracket.
“Last year, (Hellerud) was one match away from placing at state,” Schmidt said. “He has been battling the flu for some time now, so he is going to be rusty. Leading up to the regional, he was in the (wrestling) room three times in more than two weeks.”
Hellerud’s record this season stands at 31-6.
Ethan Soeken, who is 32-8 this season, will be wrestling in the same weight class as he did a year ago, 215.

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Hoisington's first-round pairings

140 — Chance Demel (29-9) vs. Jared Johnson (30-3)

145 — Dalton Bell (34-7) vs. Michael Forbes (30-7)

171 — Eric Hellerud (31-6) vs. Josh Hoch (30-10)

189 — Cody Batt (33-6) vs. Kane Washington (20-9)

215 — Ethan Soeken (32-8) vs. Dustin Bayless (32-8)