Raiders win conference wrestling title - again
They did it again.
The Hastings wrestling team is again the Suburban East Conference champs, following a 45-17 win over Stillwater on Thursday night. Hastings finished the league season with a perfect 9-0 record. This is the eighth straight conference title for Hastings.
The Ponies led 11-6 after four matches, but from that point on, Hastings went on to win nine straight matches to pull away.
"The kids came out ready to go," coach Josh McLay said. "They wrestled really, really well. They just came out guns blazing, which was what we wanted to see."
While it has been countless years since Hastings didn't win a conference title, it's still an accomplishment McLay doesn't want the team to overlook.
"I don't want them to take it for granted," he said. "We don't' want to lose. These conference championships do mean something. You have to go take it."
Hastings now has its sights set on qualifying for the state meet as a team. That, though, won't be easy. The Raiders are the section's No. 3 seed, and the Raiders will play host to Rochester John Marshall here tonight (Thursday).
Provided Hastings wins against RJM, they'll advance to face Albert Lea, the No. 2 seed, at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the Rochester Civic Center.
If Hastings wins that match, they'll face No. 1 seeded Owatonna in the section finals at 2:30 p.m.
Hastings hasn't faced either team this year.
"I'm preparing for these guys to win it," McLay said. "That's always our goal - to make it to the state tournament and place there. We have a team that is capable of doing it. We'll have to have all 14 guys on the same page, firing together.
"We're not the favorite this year - that's fine with us. We're the underdogs. I do believe we have a great opportunity to make it happen this year."
In the match against Stillwater, it was senior night for Hastings. Josh Kickbush, Jesse Green and Duncan Tweet were honored, as were managers Mariah Nelson and Sara Wright.
On the mat, Spencer Kopp earned a pin at 1:06 at 106 pounds.
Luke Rowh won by decision at 132 pounds, 9-6.
Austin Eichmann won by fall at 138 pounds in 5:59.
Jake Anderson earned a pin at 145 pounds, coming at 1:54.
Stuart Mattison won by major decision at 152 pounds, 18-6.
Mark Vaith won at 160 pounds, 7-1.
Dan Marquette won at 170 pounds, earning a pin at 5;19.
Andy Rachuy won by major decision at 182 pounds, 11-3.
Daryale Harris won by major decision at 195 pounds, 17-6.
Tony Lodermeier won by decision at 220, 5-0.