RAPID CITY-Even before the state tournament began, Mount Vernon/Plankinton/Corsica-Stickney's Jesse Hastings and Wagner's K.J. St. Pierre had an inkling they would meet in the Class B 220-pound finals on Saturday.
The duo had met three times during the regular season and the outcome could have switched in either direction at any time. When they met for the state title, it was no different.
Hastings (32-3) won two of the three regular season matches to gain the top seed, but St. Pierre (35-5) earned his victory by reversing an aggressive move against him. He was able to do so once again in the state finals, turning a pin attempt against him into four points en route to a 6-1 decision and a state championship.
"It's amazing-the best feeling in the world," St. Pierre said. "You hear it-all the cheers and loud screams. It's amazing."
Leading up to the match-altering sequence, the score was 0-0, but Hastings was on the attack. It appeared as if he was about to roll St. Pierre onto his back into a cradle, but it was blocked.
St. Pierre was able to hook Hastings' leg, forcing him to escape a potential pin attempt. The result was a two-point reversal and a two-point nearfall, all with his back on top of Hastings' stomach.
"I got my arm too deep on his right side and he sat into me-it's called a Granby Roll," Hastings said. "He rolled me over on my back and there's not much you can do about it."
Once he had the lead, St. Pierre carried out the assigned game plan to gradually wear Hastings down for the remainder of the match.
He was able to spend most of the final period on top in a riding position and forcing Hastings to not only expend energy escaping, but to score points in an attempt to close the gap in the score.
"After the first period, that's usually how it goes," St. Pierre said. "You wear him out and he gets more and more tired as the match goes on."
For Hastings, the loss resulted in finishing as the 220 runner-up for the second consecutive season. With both wrestlers returning for another season, he was in favor of a rematch next season.
"I definitely would," he said.
Wagner placed fourth in the team standings with 86 points.