A Special Moment, A Special Place – Hastings Wrestling

By Brian Jerzak

If you follow wrestling in Minnesota, unless your WiFi has been out the last few weeks, you know about the drama that unfolded on day one of the 2023 state wrestling tournament. In the Class AAA team finals, the Hastings Raiders were down 32-9 against the number one ranked St. Michael-Albertville Knights with five matches to go. The Raiders had already lost to the Knights twice in the regular season – by 25 points and then by 29 points. What happened over the next thirty minutes shocked the world – at least the Minnesota wrestling world.

“Ian Pepple led our pre-match prayer before that match,” Hastings head coach Tim Haneberg said. “He said, ‘we are about to shock the world.’ Thinking about it still gives me chills.”

Pepple would start the improbable comeback by winning 3-1 – over a guy who majored him twice in the regular season. Two matches later, Derrick Steinke – who was pinned by his man at The Clash – turned the tables on another match by getting a second-period fall.

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