Hays High coach John Hafliger saw a few Indians step up and deliver big-time performances in Thursday's senior night dual with Garden City.
But with a thin margin for error against a tough 6A squad, Hafliger also could point out a bevy of correctable mistakes the Indians have been trying to clean up.
All in all, it was a mixed bag of results for Hays High, with the Indians taking a 37-24 dual loss to the Buffaloes at HHS Gym.
“I thought we wrestled aggressively, but we made mistakes,” Hafliger said. “Against a good team, they’re going to capitalize on mistakes. Garden City did a great job of capitalizing on our mistakes.
“The disappointing thing for us as coaches is some of the mistakes we’ve been working on, and it’s been kind of a point of emphasis for us for the last couple weeks of trying to correct some of those things. I told the kids, we’re doing a good job of clearing it up when we’re practicing. We’ve got to do a better job of clearing it up when we get into competition.”
Hays High still managed its fair share of highlights, including pins from 160-pounder Kreighton Meyers and junior DaVontai Robinson at 182 pounds.
Meyers pinned Edgar Aguilar-Espinoza at the last second of the first round,, and Robinson cut the Indians' deficit to 25-21 with three matches left after pinning Ryan Wessels in the second period.
“DaVontai has just turned a corner,” Hafliger said. “He’s really been wrestling lights out for us. He’s really a first-year wrestler; he wrestled a little bit in middle school. It’s kind of baptism by fire, because when we got injured, he stepped right in there and he’s just gotten better and better and better. I’m really pleased with how he wrestled.”
After Robinson's pin, Garden clinched the dual behind back-to-back pins from Cole Thompson and Alex Rodriguez.
"Hats off to Garden City," Hafliger said. "They’re a good team and they know how to win. I thought they did a good job of running their offense and scoring points and we didn’t necessarily do as good of job as we should have.”
Heavyweight Logan Schulte helped the Indians end it on a positive note, earning a hard-fought 5-2 decision over Refugio Chairez.
“That was a tough match and a good win for him,” Hafliger said. “I was really pleased with how Logan wrestled."
Hays' Ceighton Newell earned a 5-4 decision win at 132 pounds for the Indians and Brayden Hines won by forfeit at 113 pounds.
The Indians honored its nine seniors before the dual — Meyers, Newell, Schulte, Corey Hale, Kyle Gasper, Lucas Hecker, Hazen Keener, Cole Schroeder and Chase Voth.
Hays will close the regular season with two road duals next week, facing Great Bend on Thursday and Colby on Friday.
“I’m hopeful that we can start getting a couple guys healthy and back in our lineup,” Hafliger said. "I feel good with where we're at. I told the kids we've got two tough duals coming up next week and we need to wrestle well in those duals. Then it's do or die when you get to regionals."