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Hillsboro wrestling capitalizes on youth program

Staff writer

Hillsboro athletes don’t merely take an interest in wresting when they reach high school. Many start developing their skills by participating in a youth program, coach Scott O’Hare said.

“It’s not an absolute,” he said. “I’ve had some kids come into the program who started in middle school, and I’ve had very successful kids who didn’t start until high school. It’s just that they have a lot of making up to do.”

One of the methods O’Hare uses to get wrestlers hooked from a young age is by building connections with varsity wrestlers.

“It gives them a person where the first time we wrestle at home, they want to come see,” he said.

As important as it is for the beginners, it’s also an opportunity to entrust older wrestlers with some responsibility, O’Hare said.

“Hopefully it gives them a sense that they’re acting as role models, that the little ones are looking up to them,” he said.

For Hillsboro’s 13 varsity wrestlers, the focus is on achieving individual goals this season, O’Hare said.

“Our primary goal is to focus on the individual success and let the team stuff take care of itself,” he said. “When you have the team aspect there, it has everybody pulling for each other a little more. It’s a little bit better support system.”

There are still strong bonds between teammates because everyone goes through the same struggles, O’Hare said.

“You’re not just out for wrestling,” he said. “If you’re a wrestler, you live a lifestyle. You’re not just dealing with the physical constraints of practice. You’re dealing with mental ups and downs and weight management if you have to go down a weight class.”

Last modified Nov. 27, 2019

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