Seven Hastings Raiders wrestlers competed at the individual state tournament besides Trey Rogers. The highlight of them was fellow senior T.J. Pottinger, who took third in his last chance to get on the podium. Also wrestling were juniors Alex O'Connor, Corbin Leflay, Mac Wilson and Paul Kendall, as well as sophomore John Kendall and Luke Chamberlain.
Pottinger won his first two matches at 182 pounds. He beat Peter Moen of Bemidji by a 14-5 major decision and Rowan Morgan by a 7-5 decision. However, he then ran into Cade King of Owatonna, the eventual state champion, and lost by an 11-3 major decision. From there, Pottinger won in the consolation semifinal over Gabe Anderson of St. Michael-Albertville by a 5-1 decision. In the third-place match against Riley Schock of Moorhead, Pottinger was on his way to winning the match when he was headbutted by Schock, who then forfeited the match to Pottinger.
"I was really excited to finally be up on the podium after falling short the past two years," he said. "I hated the way I had to win the third-place match but the trainer and coaches wouldn't let me continue. It makes me feel better knowing that I was ahead in the match when that happened though. It was the worst way to win, but there's nothing I can do about it."
In Pottinger's mind, everything came together the week of state.
"I definitely wrestled my best part of the season this week," he said. "Coach McLay always tells us to trust in the process and everything will come together at the end if you work hard enough. He has an amazing system that gets everybody to peak at the right time if you believe in the process."
Pottinger also said that this tournament was different the past two years, and not just because of the result.
"This one was a lot different because the last two state tournaments were major disappointments with going 0-1 in each and not becoming all-state," he said. "I felt a lot more focused, confident and relaxed this time around and I think those were the major differences."
Rest of the Raiders
The other Raider wrestlers had a tough time at the state tournament, with no one else besides Rogers and Pottinger winning a match. The Hastings wrestlers had some tough draws, which did not help matters. John Kendall, Paul Kendall and Corbin Leflay all lost their first matches and were not able to get a wrestleback.
Mac Wilson, Alex O'Connor and Luke Chamberlain lost their first matches but had chances at wrestlebacks. However, they were 0-3 in those matches. Below are the results:
John Kendall lost by fall to Cael Swensen of Wayzata in 36 seconds. Paul Kendall lost by tech fall (17-0) to Adam Mickelson of Apple Valley. Mac Wilson lost to Brady Gross of Apple Valley by tech fall (15-0) and by a 5-4 decision to Jack Vaselaar of Winona/Cotter. Leflay lost by a 6-4 decision to Carl Leuer of St. Michael-Albertville. O'Connor lost to Martin Puttbrese of Cambridge-Isanti by a 23-9 major decision and to Tanner Wiese of Forest Lake by an 8-3 decision. Chamberlain lost by fall in 5:26 to Bryce Benhart of Lakeville North in his first match and then to Noah Carter of Rochester Mayo by a 3-1 decision in the wrestleback.
Hastings returns much of its team next season, though the seniors they lose formed the backbone of the team. Graduating are co-captains Rogers (195) and Pottinger (182), multi-year varsity contributor Drake Guck (220) and utility man Riley Zietlow (145).