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State Championship Rivals Meet Up in First Round

Tubbs (left) and Hileman (right) tie up in the beginning of the first period of their finals match up in 2015.

In the 2015 state tournament, the championship round of the 126 lb. bracket was a highly anticipated match. David Hileman, Smith Center, came into the tournament last year with a record of 40-8. Hileman would face off against the No. 1 seed, Riley Tubbs. The Paxico, KS native came into the tournament with a record of 43-3. Hileman ended up claiming the title over Tubbs by fall. This year, both wrestlers were expected to take the title in their regional brackets. However, Hileman ended up with 3rd at the Beloit regional site, and Tubbs took 2nd in Rossville. Tubbs is coming into the state tournament ranked 1st with a record of 40-2; Hileman just below him at no. 3 and 38-3.
“I just want to go out and have fun while I’m wrestling. I don’t really care how I do I just want to have fun while I’m doing it. I just need to wrestle like I know I can, don’t be scared when I go out there, just wrestle how I know I can,” Hileman said.
Many thought that Tubbs and Hileman would face off once again at the state tournament this year, but it wasn’t predicted that it would be in the very first round. While many people would see this as a disadvantage to both wrestlers, Hileman was content with the match-up.
“That’s kind of what I was hoping since I didn’t end up winning my regionals, so I was kind of hoping I either got paired up with Tubbs or Gfeller right off the bat. I’ve been thinking about it all year, because I figured I was going to meet back up with him in the state finals. But, since it’s the first match of the tournament, I’m thinking about it even more now. I mean, yeah, part of me is [nervous], but the other part of me I know that I can beat him when I go out there because I’ve done it once. But, it’s going to be exciting!” Hileman said.

Riley Tubbs (right) defends Hileman’s shot in the 2nd period of their match up in finals in 2015.

Being a junior and attending the state wrestling tournament all three years of his high school career, Hileman feels ready to take on the challenge.
“After you’ve won a state title, it’s kind of hard not to make it back to the championships, it’s always in the back of your head when you’re wrestling. To me [the pressure] makes it easier because I know what I’m wrestling for and I have a big target on my back right now, everybody is trying to beat me. So, it makes me want to wrestle harder when I’m wrestling people.”

Reigning champion Hileman will be tested by Tubbs once again on Friday at Gross Memorial Coliseum.





The results of the 126 weight bracket in 2015 are shown on the podium, Hileman placing 1st and Tubbs in 2nd.

Brianna Rohr