Wrestlers win own tourney
The Hastings wrestling season got off to a great start over the weekend at the Hastings Duals.
The Raiders went 3-0 in the tournament to capture the tournament title.
“We knew we’d be tough – we had a lot of kids dedicate the summer to training,” coach Josh McLay said. “I feel like with how we wrestled, the kids started to realize how good they’re going to be. I knew they had it in them. For the kids to realize it, it’s a harder thing.”
Hastings beat former Suburban East Conference foes Forest Lake and Stillwater in the first two rounds, then faced Coon Rapids in the championship match.
Coon Rapids advanced to the finals by beating Prior Lake, which had placed third at last year’s state meet. Coon Rapids is ranked No. 8 in the state. Hastings is ranked No. 6.
Hastings beat Stillwater by a score of 56-14 and Forest Lake by a score of 56-9.
The Raiders then defeated Coon Rapids, 39-25.
McLay was thrilled to see his team make such a big statement in the first tournament of the year, especially since there are a lot of new faces in the lineup this year.
“We graduated six seniors who were state entrants – that’s a lot of firepower missing from the year before,” McLay said. “We have a lot of depth on our team, all the way through our lineup.”
Hastings has 52 athletes on the roster this year.
“This is the biggest team I’ve ever coached,” McLay said. “It’s a good group. They’re tough kids and they wrestled really, really hard.
Hastings has a big night on the schedule on Friday with a triangular here against Farmington and Owatonna, a pair of section contenders. At 5 p.m., Hastings will take on Farmington. Following that match, Hastings will face Owatonna. The winner of the triangular will be the early favorite to earn the section’s No. 1 seed when the team tournament rolls around in February.
“We want to get that No. 1 seed,” McLay said. “It’s going to be awesome. We’ve never had this much importance on an early meet. I’m nervous, but I’m excited.”
Hastings’ junior captain Austin Eichmann earned a nice award this week from the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He was named their athlete of the week after going 3-0 in Hastings over the weekend.
“He’s a good leader for the team,” McLay said. “He wrestles the style of wrestling that we promote at Hastings.”
“He’s got a lot of potential,” McLay said.