Conference champs — again!The Hastings Raiders wrestling team finished off another impressive week of wrestling. In the meantime, The Raiders brought home the Anoka Duals Championship and at least a share of the SEC title.
By: Gary LaChance, The Hastings Star-Gazette
The Hastings Raiders wrestling team finished off another impressive week of wrestling. In the meantime, The Raiders brought home the Anoka Duals Championship and at least a share of the SEC title.
Vs Forest Lake
On Thursday night the Raiders moved one step closer to claiming another SEC title with a well wrestled dual against the seventh-ranked Forest Lake Rangers.
Hastings won, 40-23.
Head coach Josh McLay’s smile said it all after Hastings finished off the Ranger with four pins to close the dual.
“I am proud if these kids,” McLay said. “They wrestled phenomenal starting with Josh Loiacano. He wrestled tough. All the way through the lineup … we kept battling and I am really proud of these kids.”
Josh Loiacano started the dual off with first-period pin to give the Raiders an emotional boost. Second-ranked Luke Rowh took down sixth-ranked James Pleski 7-1 to add to Hastings’ total.
At 120 pounds, Isaac Bauer’s 11-2 major decision pushed the lead to 13-0 going into Forest Lake’s trio of ranked wrestlers.
The Rangers’ sixth-ranked Michael Pleski earned a 17-6 major decision at 126 pounds, followed by top-ranked Ben Morgan’s 3-1 decision over fourth-ranked Eric Bauer. Forest Lake followed up Morgan’s win with fourth-ranked Tyler Isaacson’s first-period pin to even the dual at 13-13.
At 145 pounds, the Raiders’ Jake Anderson scored a 7-6 decision over Cody Pagen. The Rangers responded with a 13-4 major decision at 152 pounds, followed by two 4-2 decisions at 160 and 170 pounds to gain a 23-16 advantage with four weights to go.
Seniors Cody Wagner, Jake Swenson, Isaac Eichmann and Jake Anderson closed out their regular season home dual with pins to clinch the dual and more importantly the SEC crown.
“We knew we needed team points up top and the seniors came through,” McLay said. “It was a great senior night.”
Hastings 59, St. Francis 15
The Hastings Raiders started Saturday off with a convincing win against an overmatched St. Francis team that had no answers for the Raiders.
After giving up a 10-5 decision at 106 pounds and a forfeit at 113 pounds, the Raiders took complete control of the dual. Hastings received three forfeits at 120, 126 and 132 pounds to move in front 18-9 after five matches.
Pins by Dan Marquette (138), Hunter Swenson (145) and Dylan Nelson (152) doubled the Raiders’ score to 36-9.
At 160 pounds, Bryan Rachuy claimed a 9-1 major decision, followed by Andy Rachuy earning an 8-3 decision at 170 pounds. Alex Nygaard then scored a 10-1 major decision.
Now leading 47-9 in the dual, Hastings gave up a pin at 195 pounds, and proceeded to respond with pins by Isaac Eichmann and Jake Anderson to close out the dual.
Hastings 58, Little Falls 13
In round two, Hastings’ opponent was the Little Falls Flyers, who were not deep enough to mount much of a challenge. Even though the Flyers had four ranked wrestlers in the lineup they were unable to offset the deeper and more balanced lineup Hastings fielded.
Little Falls drew first blood with a pin at 106 pounds before Luke Rowh answered with his own pin to even the score at 6-6.
Isaac Bauer dropped a 4-3 decision to eighth-ranked Frank Wilzcek, but Jacob Spitzack answered with a third-period pin to give Hastings its first lead. Eric Bauer added a first-period pin of his own over 10th-ranked Connor Scherping, giving the Raiders an 18-9 lead after 132 pounds.
The Flyers eighth-ranked Dillon Kifer claimed a 10-2 major decision to account for the last points Little Falls would earn in the dual.
Pins by Jake Anderson (145) and Hunter Swenson (152) pushed the score to 30-13.
The Raiders’ Bryan Rachuy (160) and Andy Rachuy (170) each earned decisions, followed by Jake Swenson (182) claiming a 10-0 major decision running the score to 40-13
Closing out the dual with pins were Cody Wagner (195), Isaac Eichmann (220) and Jake Anderson (285).
Hastings 33, Cambridge-Isanti 31
The mark of a good team is when events don’t go exactly as planned they are able to adapt and overcome the obstacles, as was the case Saturday in Anoka.
In a rematch with Cambridge-Isanti for the Anoka Duals crown, the Raiders found themselves down by 13 points with three matches to go. Again, the senior leadership for the Raiders carried them to another thrilling victory.
The dual started out with Cambridge scoring a 22-8 major decision. Hastings answered with Luke Rowh and Isaac Bauer earning first-period pins to put the Raiders up 12-4.
A pin at 126 pounds by Cambridge’s Ben Hartnett pulled the Bluejackets’ within two at 12-10.
Hastings’ fourth-ranked Eric Bauer defeated seventh-ranked Tyler Tischer 4-3 in a matchup of top wrestlers. Dan Marquette followed up with 9-5 decision to give the Raiders an 18-10 lead after 138 pounds.
Although down, Cambridge felt pretty confident in their team with four of the next five wrestlers ranked in the top four at their weights. The Jackets went on the win the next five matches while scoring 21 points to go up 31-18 after 182 pounds.
Jake Swenson and Isaac Eichmann turned the 13-point deficit into one with back-to- back pins, leaving the dual in a winner-take-all match at heavyweight. Jake Anderson was able to control the first period keeping Jon Knowlton on the defensive. Anderson’s second period escape proved to be the only point scored in the match when Anderson was able to ride out Knowlton in the third.
“I was a pretty nervous towards the end; I was just trying to hold on and then I was able to get a half in as time ran out,” Anderson said.
McLay had words of praise for Anderson’s effort.
“Jake lost to that kid 8-1 at the Kiffmeyer Duals, so to come back and beat him 1-0 was phenomenal,” McLay said. “I’m really proud of him. In the wrestling room he is always one of the top five kids in sprints and for a big guy that is impressive. He’s been working really hard.”
Up next for the Raiders is their last SEC dual of the year. It takes place at 7 p.m. Thursday in Stillwater. Rounding out the regular season for Hastings is a dual against Class AA wrestling power Scott West on Friday at 7:30 in Jordan.
Eichmann and Mattison Win Titles
Eighth grader Austin Eichmann and freshman Stuart Mattison took home state title from the 9U State tournament this last weekend. Freshman Keith Mikel also placed eighth for Hastings.
Austin Eichmann’s title run at 126 pounds started with a 15-1 major decision over Kyle Kapplinger of JCC. In the quarter-finals, Eichmann earned a tight 3-1 decision over Kyle Ziemar of Elf River. The semi-final match saw Eichmann run away with a 19-1 technical fall over Robert Mazarlegos of Pelican Rapids. Eichmann’s quest for the state title culminated with a 6-0 decision over Hunter Heitkemp of Adrian.
At 145 pounds, Stewart Mattison began his victory run with a 47 second pin of Wechtuor Thuok of Owatonna. Mattison defeated his next opponent, Matt Njos of Anoka, by a 3-1 decision. In the semi-finals, Mattison defeated Jordon Schroepfer of Wabasso 8-1. Mattison’s championship run ended with a 6-0 decision over Matthew Slater of Adrian to finish at the top of the podium.
Keith Mikel finished the state tournament in eighth place. Other wrestlers competing were; 94 pounder Spencer Kopp, 138 pounder Reid Zeitlow, 160 pounder Logan Gove, and 182 pounder Cullen Brendeland.