Every year coaches and fans are forced to say goodbye to talented seniors as they prepare to move on to bigger and better things. And unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on how you look at it, the 2012 Havre High wrestling team has reached that point in the season.
On Friday night when the Central A Blue Ponies host Forsyth and Conrad at the Havre High gymnasium, a talented grou
p of HHS seniors will wrestle for the last time at home. And while the end of the season is still weeks away, this time of year is always special, as seniora don their Blue Pony singlet in front of the home crowd for the very last time in their prep careers.
This year’s HHS seniors include Dustin Seely, Dillon Seely, Eli Hinebauch, Kameron Pribyl, Casey Schaub and Kolton Lodge.
“It is going to be fun,” Hinebauch said. “Especially because we know it is going to be good competition with Forsyth and Conrad. There is a chance I could lose this weekend, but I am always looking forward to wrestling a kid that is better or that could beat me. I like getting those wins, it feels good. But this being the last chance to wrestle in front of the home crowed, that will be different than just wrestling any other time, it’s hard to put it into words that feeling.”
Leave it to a wrestler to still be focused on the competition, even with surrounding distractions like senior night. But that sums up just what kind of senior group fans and coaches are letting go at the end of the season. This group of six seniors is a very talented group, and like always will leave very big shoes to fill next season. They not only made themselves better, but make the team better as a whole with their dedication to the sport and work ethic.
“They have produced every year,” Havre High veteran coach Scott Filius said. “I have had this group of kids probably since they were in fifth grade, and we have been banging around across the state ever since. They are just good people and I have been able to count on these guys for four straight years. They lead by example. They go in and work hard, and Kameron Pribyl has been one of the best workers in my room for four years, and so has Eli (Hinebauch) and Casey (Schaub). The seniors bring it, and if the other kids want to keep up or catch up, they have to bring it too.
“First of all, in practice,” Hinebauch added. “We have to set the tone. We are always working hard and just showing what it takes to be successful. But it is always just about working hard, even when you matches come around, we have to set the example by wrestling the entire match and not quitting, win or lose.”
And the success this senior group has found the last several years speaks for itself.
This group has been a part of two Class A State championships as freshman and sophomores, and a No. 2 finish a year ago as juniors. And last year as juniors, Hinebauch was a state champion at 145 pounds, while Schaub (171) finished No. 2 and Pribyl (152) finished third. As sophomores, Hinebauch (145) finished second and Schaub (171) finished fourth, while as freshmen, Hinebauch (130) finished second and Schaub (152) finished third at the state tournament.
There is no doubt that this group is talented and has had a great career, but coach Filius isn’t ready to say goodbye just yet. Senior night is a fun tradition for the wrestlers themselves, as they say goodbye to fans, but it is different for the coaching staff. There is still the most important part of the season to wrestle with divisionals and state approaching, so this is still just another chance for wrestlers to get on the mats and keep improving.
“I am not saying goodbye on senior night,” Filius said. “I still have them for two more weeks. It is their last home dual and I see how that is special, but I am gearing up for divisionals and state and I am not thinking about saying goodbye just yet. I enjoy the banquet at the end of the year, that is when I say goodbye.”
Senior night will be Friday when the Ponies host Forsyth and Conrad at the Havre High gymnasium at 5 p.m.