WILTON, Iowa — Briggs Hartley has done a lot of good things at 285 pounds this year for the Wilton wrestling team. The results back that up, too, as the heavyweight entered Thursday’s home quadrangular with a 19-7 record on the season.
Despite all of that, Wilton coach Gabriel Boorn says Hartley’s confidence doesn’t reflect his accomplishments thus far.
“Briggs has yet to have confidence in his abilities,” Boorn said. “He’s done a lot of great things on the mat. He’s doing very well.”
However, Harley showed nothing but poise when his team needed him most Thursday. With the opening dual with Bellevue tied at 36, Hartley won by fall in a back-and-forth affair over Kane Krabbenhoft to win the dual for the Beavers in the final match.
“He’s one of our boys so I have confidence in him every time he steps on the mat,” Boorn said. “He’s going to go hard and give it everything he has.”
Hartley was aided by Coy Baker, whose pin of Bellevue’s Shayne Fite at 195 pounds positioned the Beavers to tie the dual before the heavyweight stepped onto the mat.
However, that was the only dual shorthanded Wilton won on senior night Thursday, as it fell to Tipton 60-23 and Monticello 52-29.
“We’ve been getting some quality mat time and making adjustments in the room,” Boorn said. “Unfortunately we’ve got some wrestlers out with some injuries that put us in a couple of predicaments. I’m not disappointed in our fight or our effort.”
The Beavers entered Thursday without a handful of wrestlers including senior Cory Anderson, who continues to rehab a shoulder injury. Boorn hopes Anderson will be able to return before the postseason begins to find his rhythm on the mat.
To make matters worse, senior Calib Lily injured his shoulder midway through his second match against Monticello’s Lake Stahlberg. Lily then forfeited his third match of the night.
“I knew going in we were going to be in a challenging situation tonight,” Boorn said. “As soon as we get somebody else healthy somebody goes out.”
However, one wrestler available was Kael Brisker, who easily won two matches on tech falls after receiving a walkover win in the opening dual. It was clear Brisker, who is 33-1, could have pinned either opponent, but with both duals against Tipton and Monticello out of reach by the time he wrestled, the sophomore was going for takedowns and technical falls.
“He’s going for a couple records with takedowns and tech falls in a season,” Boorn said of Brisker. “Going into a dual he knows if we need him to put a kid away to put him away.
“He’s wrestling with a lot of confidence right now. He’s taken out a lot of good kids.”
Although Boorn was pleased with the fight each of his wrestlers showed on senior night, the Wilton coach knows there are plenty of things still to clean up in the next couple of weeks before postseason. That starts with showing more fight on the bottom to avoid pins, which was a major reason Wilton exited Thursday 1-2 instead of 2-1.
“Right now as a team we’re not battling hard enough underneath,” Boorn said. “Stuff like battling for hand control and position when we need to there. (It’s) definitely something we will continue to focus on as the weeks go on.”