Raiders send seven to stateThe Hastings Raiders wrestling team arrived in Rochester Friday with a specific goal: to qualify the most wrestlers for state. By Saturday morning their goal was on track with 12 wrestlers in the semi-finals and just a win away from a trip to the Xcel Energy Center. When Saturday night arrived, the Raiders had seven wrestlers going to the Xcel, with four just missing out.
By: Gary LaChance, The Hastings Star-Gazette
The Hastings Raiders wrestling team arrived in Rochester Friday with a specific goal: to qualify the most wrestlers for state. By Saturday morning their goal was on track with 12 wrestlers in the semi-finals and just a win away from a trip to the Xcel Energy Center. When Saturday night arrived, the Raiders had seven wrestlers going to the Xcel, with four just missing out.
Head coach Josh McLay received a nice surprise when he was voted Section One Coach of the Year.
“This is a testament to my coaching staff, I have great coaches on my staff here along with how hard these kids work, that’s what this award means to me,” McLay said.
Fourth-ranked sophomore Luke Rowh earned the top seed at 113 pounds. After receiving a first round bye, Rowh dominated Alex Haynes of Rochester Mayo before pinning him in the second period. Rowh recorded his second pin of the tournament when he faced Ryan Mullennex of Faribault on his way to the finals. Albert Lea’s fifth-ranked Garrett Wangsness stood in Rowh’s way for top honors. Wangsness’ 3-2 decision dropped Rowh into a true second match where he scored a 10-5 decision to reach the state tournament for the second straight year.
“Luke wrestled tough… (Wangsness is) a tough kid though,” McLay said.
Rowh’s first round opponent will be third-ranked Nick O’Brien of Wayzata.
Fourth-ranked senior Eric Bauer was awarded the top seed at 132 pounds. Bauer's first round opponent gave little resistance before succumbing to a first period pin. His quarter-final opponent, Donyae Funches of Rochester Century, gave even less opposition with Bauer scoring a 25-second pin. Bauer earned a convincing 16-4 major decision over Bowen Schultz of Owatonna to reach the finals. In the finals, Bauer defeated sixth-ranked Carsen Canady of Northfield 9-7 to secure his fourth trip to the Xcel.
“Eric wrestled great, he wrestled mistake free,” McLay said.
Junior Hunter Swenson was the top seed at 145 pounds for the Raiders. Swenson started his sections off with a commanding 13-0 major decision over Marcus McKinley of Rochester Mayo, followed by a hard fought 3-0 decision over Josh Palmer of Faribault that lifted Swenson onto the finals, where John Marshall’s Nick Borth 3-1 decision derailed Swenson’s title hopes. Now wrestling for true second, Swenson claimed a nail-biting 9-6 decision to earn his second trip to the Xcel.
“It’s a lot of fun watching that kid wrestle,” McLay said.
Swenson’s opening round opponent at the Xcel is top-ranked Mark Hall of Apple Valley.
Sophomore Bryan Rachuy was the second seed at sections and given an opening round bye. Rachuy's quarter-final pin of Jordan Woodard from Winona/Winona Cotter moved him one step closer to the Xcel. In the semi-finals, Sam Hinsch of Rochester Mayo injury defaulted in the second period, propelling Rachuy into the finals. Third-ranked Dalton Westerlund of Albert Lea earned a second period fall over Rachuy, forcing him to wrestle a true second match against Robert Tait of Faribault. Rachuy’s 3-1 decision gave him his first trip to the State Tournament.
“He wrestled great, he wasn’t feeling the best but he toughed it out,” McLay said.
Rachuy’s first round opponent is fifth-ranked Anton Kalista from Lakeville North.
Senior Cody Wagner wrestling with the three seed wasted no time in earning a trip the semi-finals with first period pins over Jose Contreras of Rochester Mayo and Justin Morbeck of Rochester Century. Another first period pin over Cole McAdam from Faribault vaulted Wagner into the finals where he faced seventh-ranked Ryan Williamson of Rochester John Marshall. Wagner, focused and determined, scored a late reversal to push the dual into overtime where he rode Williamson out in the third overtime for the victory.
“I am so proud of that kid, he is wrestling with confidence,” McLay said. “At 182 he is stronger than most the guys he is wrestling right now,” added McLay. Wagner’s opening round opponent is Jace Englemann of Brainerd/Pillager.
Second-ranked senior Jake Swenson was the top seed at 195 pounds in the section tournament. A quick pin of Alex Brown from Rochester John Marshall moved Swenson into the semi-finals against Northfield's Sam Minske, where his run through the section continued with a third period pin. With one more obstacle in his way, Swenson completed the trifecta of pins with a second period pin of Justin Carr of Rochester Mayo to claim first place.
“Jake the Machine, I would not want to wrestle that kid, he’s just an animal,” McLay said.
Swenson will start his title hopes against Moses Sando from Champlin Park.
Fourth-ranked senior Isaac Eichmann started and finished the section tournament as the second seed. Eichmann used a quick first period pin over Dontorrie Chatman from Rochester John Marshall to cruise into the semis against Zach Lorang of Rochester Mayo where he prevailed, scoring a 9-2 decision. In the finals, Eichmann had a rematch with third-ranked Coyte Kuefner for the section title. Struggling to mount much offense, Eichmann dropped a 9-2 decision. Forced to wrestle a true second match, Eichmann claimed a convincing 9-0 major decision over George Weege of Winona/Winona Cotter to advance to the State tournament.
“Kuefner is a tough kid, he is a funky wrestler, and we’ll have to beat him when it counts at state,” McLay said.
Eichmann’s quest to return to the state finals begins with seventh-ranked Dan Lovik of Champlin Park.
Wrestlers just missing out on trips to the Xcel Energy Center were Isaac Bauer, Dan Marquette, Dylan Nelson, Andy Rachuy and Jake Anderson.
Junior Isaac Bauer took the third seed at 120 pounds in one of the toughest brackets in the section. A first round bye along with a first period pin of Blake O'Neil of Faribault propelled Bauer into the semi-finals. Bauer lost a controversial and heartbreaking 2-1 decision to eighth-ranked Dakota Wangsness. Late in the third period and down by one, Bauer appeared to have Wangsness on his back but was not given any nearfall points.
“Isaac had the kid turned on his back, I thought it was a three count,” McLay said.
Bauer rebounded wins over Jay Wehregberg of Rochester John Marshall and Frankie Saengkeo of Rochester Mayo to finish third.
Sophomore Dan Marquette was seeded third at 138 pounds behind two ranked wrestlers. Marquette claimed a 7-1 decision in his quarter-final match against Trevor Morris of Faribault. A loss to ninth-ranked Adam Woitalla of Northfield in the semis dropped Marquette into the wrestleback round. Marquette proceeded to score major decisions over Nathan Evan of Rochester John Marshall and Trevor Morris of Faribault to earn a third place finish.
Senior Dylan Nelson wrestled as the third seed at 152 pounds and received a first round bye. Nelson scored a second period pin over Nate Pflughoeft from Winona/
Winona Cotter to advance to the semi-finals against 10th-ranked Tim Moor from Rochester John Marshall. After dropping a 10-0 major decision to Moore, Nelson responded with an 8-5 decision over Andy Ness of Faribault. In the third place match, Owatonna’s Tyler Burke scored an overtime takedown to win a 7-5 decision, giving Nelson a fourth place finish.
Sophomore Andy Rachuy wrestled with the three seed at 170 pounds. Rachuy took little time in pinning Rochester Century's Nick O'Brien in the first period. Fourth-ranked Owatonna’s Jordan Zeman gave him his only loss of the weekend with an 11-2 major decision in the semi-final match. Rachuy rebounded with first period pins over Tyler Bidwell of Rochester Mayo and Kenny Maclin of Rochester John Marshall in finishing in third place.
Senior Jake Anderson was seeded third in the section tournament where he received a bye in the quarter-finals, sliding him into the semi-finals against Bryce DeBoer of Albert Lea. Knowing a win would virtually clinch at trip the Xcel, Anderson was unable to defend DeBoer’s throw, resulting in a first period pin for DeBoer. Back-to-back wins in the wrestle backs over Cody Mach of Faribault and Jason Callanan from Rochester Mayo allowed Anderson to finish third.
Wrestlers not placing at sections were eighth-grader Spencer Kopp and sophomore Jake Spitzack.
Kopp (5-13) gained a ton of experience as an undersized 106-pounder and will be a solid contributor at 106 pounds next year.
Spitzack (9-8) wrestled well in relief of injured senior Dan Gove and will parley his experience this year into a lot of quality wins next year for the Raiders.