Raiders heading to state meetThe Hastings Raiders wrestling team earned a trip back to the Xcel Energy Center after dispatching the Owatonna Huskies in the Section 1AAA finals Saturday in Rochester.
By: Gary LaChance, The Hastings Star-Gazette
The Hastings Raiders wrestling team earned a trip back to the Xcel Energy Center after dispatching the Owatonna Huskies in the Section 1AAA finals Saturday in Rochester.
“The kids came together, they wrestled great… it was a total team effort, all 19 guys did their job, not one individual but one team,” coach Josh McLay said.
The couple hundred Hastings fans that took the trip south to Rochester on Saturday were excited with prospect of a section championship, having witnessed this team’s growth all year long as they gained confidence and gelled as a team. It is a testament to the kids and coaches with the hard work and support they gave each other throughout the year.
“I am very proud of these kids,” McLay said.
No. 2 Hastings 78, Rochester Century 3
Hastings’ trip to the state tournament began Thursday evening with a resounding 78-3 victory over an outmatched Rochester Century team.
After dropping the first match, the Raiders cruised through the dual with only one other match getting out of the first period. Hastings tallied 10 pins and three forfeits in one of the quickest duals of the year. With the win the Raiders traveled to Rochester for semifinals and finals duals.
No. 2 Hastings 48, Rochester Mayo 20
The Spartans of Rochester Mayo awaited the Raiders at the Civic Center. Mayo earned the spot in the semifinals by defeating rival Rochester John Marshall 32-31on criteria. Mayo’s young squad kept the dual close for much of the first half before Hastings began to pull away, winning seven of the last eight matches.
The Raiders yielded a fall in the second period at 106 pounds before Hastings’ third-ranked Luke Rowh answered with a first-period pin of his own to even the dual at 6-6.
At 120 pounds, Isaac Bauer kept the momentum going with a second-period pin to increase Hastings’ lead to 12-6. The Raiders dropped a close 8-6 decision at 126 pounds, pulling Mayo closer at 12-9.
Fourth-ranked Eric Bauer’s first-period pin pushed Hastings’ lead to nine before the Raiders would surrender a technical fall at 138 pounds and a 9-4 decision at 145 pounds to close the Raiders lead at 18-17.
Dylan Nelson gave Hastings a boost with a 5-0 decision at 152 pounds and Bryan Rachuy gave the Raiders some breathing room with his pin at 160 pounds, giving Hastings a lead of 27-17.
After the Raiders dropped a 5-3 decision at 170 pounds, Hastings closed out the dual in impressive fashion with pins from Jake Swenson (182), Cody Wagner (195) and Jake Anderson (HWT), along with a 7-0 decision from Isaac Eichmann at 220 pounds to round out the scoring at 48-20.
No. 2 Hastings 39, No. 8 Owatonna 27
Hastings was back in the section final, but unlike previous years their opponent was not Apple Valley. Instead, they found another true Minnesota team in the Owatonna Huskies. The Huskies earned their spot in finals with a thrilling 33-26 win over their arch rival, the No. 5-ranked Albert Lea Tigers.
Determined to finish on top of the podium this time, the Raider wrestlers and fans were anxiously awaiting the start of the finals. Missing out on the state tournament the past four years has been hard for this proud program. Having a legitimate opportunity to represent Section 1AAA was all they could ask for.
The championship dual started off on the wrong foot for Hastings when Owatonna claimed a second-period pin from ninth-ranked Brandon Moen to draw first blood. Luke Rowh responded for the Raiders with a 14-5 major decision to close the gap.
Owatonna extended its lead with a 12-6 decision from fifth-ranked Evan Green at 120 pounds along with a 9-5 decision at 126 pounds to push the Huskies out in front at 12-4.
Needing things to turn around for the Raiders, the team looked to Eric Bauer, who began the comeback with a 10-6 decision. Next, Dan Marquette scored a convincing 15-0 technical fall before Hunter Swenson claimed an extremely important first-period pin for Hastings. Freshman Jake Anderson showed plenty of maturity by earning a 9-7 decision at 152 pounds. The Raider fans jumped to their feet when sophomore Bryan Rachuy scored a first period pin, building a 15 point lead at 27-12 after 160 pounds. With each win the fans could sense a dual victory was within reach.
Owatonna’s fourth-ranked Jordan Zeman broke Hastings’ streak of wins with a 5-1 decision at 170 pounds, closing the gap to 12 points at 27-15. Hastings’ Andy Rachuy wrestled well in defeat as he frustrated Zeman and the Huskies with a gritty performance in only surrendering three team points.
Cody Wagner’s second-period pin put the Raiders on the verge of clinching the dual at 33-15. With the Hastings fans still celebrating Wagner’s win, second-ranked Jake Swenson sealed the victory with a first-period pin to give Hastings an overwhelming lead at 39-15 and a trip to the state team tournament.
Losses at 220 and 285 pounds to ranked wrestlers ended the dual with a final scoring of 39-27.
Section One notes
The Raiders will travel back to Rochester on Friday and Saturday for the individual Section 1AAA championships, with wrestling beginning at noon on Friday, Feb. 24, and 11a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 25.
State tournament notes
The state team tournament will begin Thursday, March 1, when the Hastings wrestling team will compete at 9 a.m. in the quarterfinals at the Xcel Energy Center.
The state individual tournament will be held at the Xcel Energy Center on Friday, March 2, with the first session starting at 9 a.m. and Saturday March 3, with session five beginning at 10 a.m.