In Class B wrestling, South Border has essentially become a dynasty as the program piles up the championships at the team dual state tournament. South Border has won the dual title in five of the last eight years, including last year.
This year’s South Border wrestling team is a young one, but only one wrestler is missing from last year’s state dual championship.
“I’d say we definitely have a better team from last year,” junior Mark Jochim said. “We’ve got some younger kids who are definitely better. They developed over the summer.”
Jochim and the coaching staff agree that the young lightweight wrestlers have set a competitive tone that’s helped enhance the whole team.
“It’s a war zone in those lightweights every day,” Co-head coach Josh Hoffman said. “The great thing about it is here on the wrestling mat, they’re after each other. They want the starting spot. They’re making each other better.”
Having the competitive drive isn’t enough at the state level. The upperclassmen say there’s more to it than that.
“You’ve got to be mentally tough,” Jochim said.
“All it takes is one key match, a big upset, a pin maybe where you weren’t expecting it, and that whole dual is completely changed,” co-head coach Adam Bettenhausen said.
The Mustangs will look to the three-seeded Jochim at 145 and heavyweight senior Riley Molter to win those key matches this week. Molter has finished second and third at state the past two years. A title for him would mean a lot.
“It would mean that all my hard work has paid off, like I can finally punch my final ticket,” Molter said.
For all the Mustangs, this tournament brings extra motivation. After all, the defending champs have a reputation to maintain.
“Last year we were coming off of nothing,” Molter said. “We had something to prove. Now we have to defend something.”
South Border’s quarterfinal dual will be against Hillsboro-Central Valley Thursday at 1:30 p.m.