The opponent didn't matter to Travis Hilchey. Neither did the record. He wasn't changing his approach.
"I didn't think of how tough my weight class was," he said. "I just thought I had to go hard. I had to wrestle whoever goes out there. It does not matter who they are."
The Mount Greylock 132-pounder faced some of the best the region and state had to offer this season, winning 48 matches overall, reaching the MIAA All-States tournament and winning the All-Eagle MVP award.
Hilchey, a junior, was 38-1 in the regular season. His only loss came in the final of the Essex Mike Baker Classic in New York, to Jon Graziane of Beekmantown, N.Y. Graziane lost just one match all season.
Hilchey was unbeaten in Berkshire County, and took second place at the Western Mass. Division III tournament, losing to a then-unbeaten Brendan Weir of Hampshire. His wins continued at the state (third place) and All-State (eighth place) levels, though.
That kind of success didn't come easy for him, according to his coach, Ray Miro. In fact, the Greylock coach doesn't believe success comes easy to any Berkshire County wrestler.
"We don't have the competition around us. There are four teams in Berkshire County," Miro said. "You have to go out and seek it and do the hard work. Travis did the work in the offseason, and I think that really helped him."
Hilchey felt his season-defining match wasn't even in the postseason. It came in the semifinal round of the Baker Classic, when he rallied to beat Alex Legg of Champlain Valley Union, Vt.
With less than 10 seconds remaining in the match, and the wrestlers reset after going out of bounds with Legg on top, Hilchey flipped, reset his hips and got the reversal he needed to turn a one-point deficit into a crucial victory.
Losing to Graziane, though, showed him he had more work to do.
"It was a different kind of match, because he wasn't like the usual kids I wrestle," Hilchey said. "He was short and really big.
"I realized I wasn't as aggressive as I should have been. From there, I had to ... start being more aggressive, because there were kids out there [like that] that I had to wrestle."
Hilchey plans to get stronger over the next year and move up at least one weight class, if not two. At 145 pounds, he would take over for fellow All-Eagle selection CJ Lillie.
He wants to improve his wrestling from the bottom, but Miro wants him to work on riding from the top, too.
"Against the good guys, you give them space, and that's all they need," the coach said.
And Hilchey can get that work not only in the offseason, but in county matches as well. He feels the competition he gets from Monument Mountain, Mount Everett and Taconic wrestlers makes him better.
"[There are] different wrestling styles, definitely, from who I work with in the room and in the offseason," Hilchey said.
To reach Matthew Sprague:
or (413) 496-6254.
On Twitter: @BE_MSprague.