KEARNEY, Neb. — It had been a while since Hastings had won any kind of a state wrestling championship.
Since 1988, to be exact, when the Tigers captured the Class A title.
Now Hastings doesn’t have to wait anymore.
The Tigers won the Class B duals championship Saturday at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds in Kearney. The No. 1 Tigers earned that title after defeating unranked Pierce 54-24 in the championship.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Hastings coach Nolan Laux said. “This is something we’ve had circled for a long time. We knew going into the year that we were going to be very solid dual-wise. We knew going in that a dual tournament would be a good format for us.”
Hastings’ best finish at the state duals was third in 2019.
“To finally get one feels amazing,” said Hastings senior Damen Pape, who is ranked No. 1 at 182 pounds. “There’s been so many years where we’ve been close, but this year we’re finally able to get it done.”
And Hastings didn’t waste any time in getting started. After the Tigers dropped the opening match of the dual, they reeled off eight of the next nine matches to take a commanding 42-12 lead.
Landon Weidner (No. 3 at 126) got things started with a 15-0 technical fall over Blake Bolling. The Tigers then got pins from Bryce Brown (No. 3 at 132), Austin Yohe (138), Izaak Hunsley (No. 1 at 160) and Evan Morara (No. 5 at 195), while Pape had a forfeit victory. Mason Brumbaugh (No. 2 at 152) grabbed a 16-7 major decision over Ashton Schweitzer, and Jett Samuelson (145) held on for a 9-8 win over Michael Kruntorad.
“Landon got us going and everyone just seemed to pick it up after that,” Laux said. “It was great to see that.”
Hastings had plenty of confidence heading into the finals. The Tigers beat No. 2 Bennington 41-28 in the semifinals.
The Badgers grabbed an early 18-9 lead, but Hastings won six of the final eight matches with four pins and two major decisions.
Pierce got to the finals by beating Blair 36-35 and Gering 42-33.
“This is a great thing for our program,” Pierce coach Tyler Legate said.
120: Jaydon Coulter, PIE, pinned Dalton Hansen, HAS, 1:24. 126: Landon Weidner, HAS, tech. fall Blake Bolling, PIE, 15-0. 132: Bryce Brown, HAS, pinned Ashton Koch, PIE, 1:24. 138: Austin Yohe, HAS, pinned Jeremiah Kruntorad, PIE, 3:49. 145: Jett Samuelson, HAS, dec. Michael Kruntorad, PIE, 9-8. 152: Mason Brumbaugh, HAS, maj. dec. Ashton Schweitzer, PIE, 16-7. 160: Izaak Hunsley, HAS, pinned Zander Schweitzer, PIE, 2:32. 170: Brett Tinker, PIE, pinned Jacob Lopez, HAS, 1:06. 182: Damen Pape, HAS, won by forf. 195: Evan Morara, HAS, pinned Travis Jensen, PIE, 0:39. 220: Dylan Kuehler, PIE, pinned Blake Davis, HAS, 4:59. 285: Josh Callejas, HAS, won by forf. 106: Markus Miller, HAS, won by forf. 113: Brock Bolling, PIE, won by forf.