In the midst of a three-match losing streak, the Broncos managed to get back in the victory circle, defeating Bethany College 36-22 on Feb. 7, their Senior Night.
HC started off slower than they expected, having leads in their first two matches, but eventually getting pinned in both.
“We had good leads in those first two matches and then we give up pins so that’s not exactly the way you want to start off a dual,” said Head Coach Tyson Springer.
Following those losses, the Broncos took control. HC won six straight matches, which included five pins. The Broncos lost the final two matches, but the damage was already done.
“We made a lineup change real quick and sent out another kid to get that forfeit at 141 and we bumped up our South African (Edrich “Eddie” Nortje) to 149. Not that we didn’t have confidence in the other first-year, Tristan Berry, but we just knew that Eddie’s a fireplug. You put him in and he’s exciting to watch. He’s a pinner and he goes out there and gets people excited. He wanted to be the guy that wrestled so we bumped him up and he got us on a roll after that,” Springer said.
Four of the five HC pins came from seniors, which included Taygen Smith, Anthony Espinoza, Shaun Van der Torre and Jayden Miller.
“It was huge, it was absolutely huge. My senior night in high school, I ended up losing so this was really nice for me being able to finally get a win in front of a home crowd my senior night, so it was huge. It was awesome. I can’t really express the feelings that were going through my mind, but it was pretty sweet,” Van der Torre said.
The Broncos will conclude their regular season on Feb. 13 at Midland University. HC will then have eight days to prepare for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Qualifier, which will take place on Feb. 21 and 22 in Sioux City, Iowa at 9 a.m.