Rowh places third, Harris sixth at state wrestling meet
It wasn't the best state wrestling tournament for the Hastings Raiders, but even casual observers couldn't help but notice one glaring thing about the Raiders this year - the team will graduate just one senior from the starting lineup.
Josh Kickbush, the team's lone senior in the lineup, will graduate. Everyone else, though, will return, leaving the Raiders optimistic about the 2013-2014 season.
"Next year, we're going to have a real good shot to place high as a team, and send more individuals as well," coach Josh McLay said.
At this year's tournament, Hastings had two wrestlers earn all-state honor. Here are summaries on how each of the four Hastings wrestlers fared.
Hastings' best hope to place well in the tournament was Luke Rowh at 132 pounds. The junior was ranked among the top wrestlers in the state all season long.
Rowh started his tournament with a 15-4 win over Jack O'Brien of Mounds View. He then beat Ben Donnelly of Woodbury in the second round, 5-1.
Rowh then faced Seth Gross of Apple Valley, a returning state champion. Gross won, 1-0.
Rowh then wrestled for third place and won that match, 3-1, in overtime.
He was named all-state. Rowh, though, had his sights set at the top spot on the podium.
"Anything less than first for Luke wasn't a success for him," McLay said. "It's a hard pill to swallow. It's a sad deal."
Rowh placed fifth last season and finishes this season with a 44-3 record.
"I'm happy he did better than last year, but sad he fell short of his goals," McLay said. "That's the tough part as the coach, but you can sit back and whine about it, or you can move forward and work even harder for next year. Luke is the type of kid who will do the latter.
"We're looking forward to seeing what does next season."
Hastings sophomore Jake Anderson had a tough draw and a short state tournament at 145 pounds.
He lost to Shamar Williams of Lakeville South in the opening match, 7-4.
Williams then faced Grant Nehring of St. Cloud Apollo, the defending state champ, in the second round. Williams lost, so Anderson's tournament was over.
"Jake had a really tough draw," McLay said. "It's sad that the state tournament isn't double elimination. It's the most important tournament of the year, and it's not double elimination."
Anderson finished the season with a 34-9 record. McLay expects he'll be able to steadily move up over the next two years.
"Jake is an extremely hard worker," McLay said. "He'll train even harder to come back and get a place next year."
Dan Marquette qualified at 160 pounds and had a tough draw, too.
Marquette lost his opening match to Cody Berry of Champlin Park.
"Dan had a really good chance to beat him," McLay said. "He went out there and got the first takedown and was looking really tough."
With about 10 seconds left in the first period, Berry scored a reversal, gained some momentum and went on to win.
Marquette then got back into action in the wrestlebacks, but he faced Moorhead senior Joseph Carpenter of Moorhead and lost in overtime, 7-5. Carpenter went on to place third.
Marquette finished the season with a record of 34-10.
"Dan had a really good year as a captain and did a lot of great things," McLay said. "He led by example all season long. It's tough to see kids like him not place. He'll be working really hard this summer to get himself back into contention."
The big surprise for Hastings this season was what junior Daryale Harris did at 195 pounds.
"He was the Cinderella story of our team," McLay said. "Last year was his first full year of wrestling. For a kid who doesn't have that many hours on the mat, and that many matches, he did unbelievable. He did better and better every time he stepped on the mat."
Harris faced Robert Schulke in the opening round and won, 13-8.
In the second round, he upset Justice Davis of Centennial. Davis finished the season with a 43-5 record. Harris won, 6-3.
In the semifinals, Harris lost to the eventual champion, Tommy Petersen of Lakeville South.
Harris then lost his next two matches and went on to place sixth, earning all-state honors in the process.
"That's a kid who only had a few varsity matches last year," McLay said. "He's picked this up very fast."