FARGO — When Hillsboro-Central Valley senior Mark Hastings trailed after the first period of Saturday's North Dakota Class B state wrestling championship match at 182 pounds, he looked to his older brother, Luke, on the other side of the mat.
Mark grew a mustache for the state tournament because his brother did when he was in high school. Mark was heartbroken when he didn't win a state title his sophomore season because it meant he couldn't win three state titles like his brother and he couldn't win a state title the same season as his brother.
On Saturday, at the Fargodome, Luke told him to not give up, as he trailed 4-1 after one period to Minot Ryan's Corbin Okeson. Mark came back to win a 7-6 decision and end his career with back-to-back state titles just like Luke.
"I just didn't give up at all there," Hastings said. "I didn't want to go for a big move, something that could put me in danger, so I didn't push the pace more than I had to. ... I just stuck with the basics and it got the job done for me."
After Hastings won, he pointed to his head and made an explosion sign because he said his mind was blown. After four years of varsity football and six years of varsity wrestling, his athletic career with H-CV came to an end.
"It's awesome," Hastings said. "I wouldn't trade it for anything. It's been a great ending, not just for me, but for the whole team."
Lisbon caps memorable tournament
Lisbon won a Class B state dual championship Friday and had three wrestlers win state titles, while also winning the individual team title for the third straight season on Saturday. On top of that, the Broncos saw their teammate Zane Grubar taken off in an ambulance on Friday, after being slammed on his head in the championship dual and laying motionless on the mat for a long time.
As of Saturday, Lisbon coach Richard Lacina said Grubar turned out to not have any neck damage. He had a separated shoulder and a concussion.
On Saturday, eighth-grader and top seed Boeden Greenley capped a 43-1 season with a 7-2 decision over Central Cass' Jake Deutsch to earn a state title at 106 pounds. Last season, Greenley lost in the state semifinals.
"It was heartbreaking," Greenley said. "It was one of those things where you try so hard and you prepare so much. I was just a little bit undersized and it was a little too hard to deal with."
That's where teammate Caleb Nielsen came in. The two worked together all season and Greenley pointed to him as the reason he was a state champion.
"He makes me work as hard as I have to every day to beat him," Greenley said. "I try to beat him and he tries to beat me and we get better in the process."
Nielsen returned the favor, living up to his top seed and winning a 3-0 decision over Velva's Gunnar Mogen for the title at 113. Last season, in his first trip to the state tournament, he didn't place. That's where Greenley came in.
"The saying is true when they say champions come in pairs," Nielsen said. "We make each other better all the time."
Lisbon also had top-seeded Jordan Sours cap a 39-0 season with a 9-4 decision over New Salem-Almont's No. 2-seeded Josh Irwin for the title at 152 pounds. Lisbon's top-seeded Ben Shearer also wrestled in a state title match, falling to South Border's No. 2-seeded Riley Molter 4-0 at 285 pounds.
Lisbon ran away with its third individual team championship, scoring 177 points. New Salem-Almont was in second with 151 points.
"It's great," Nielsen said. "We've all been working really hard for it. I'm glad it shook out the way it did. I think we earned it."
Awender's wait is over
Oakes' senior Coy Awender has lost twice in the state semifinals and once in a state championship. Saturday was his turn, as he topped No. 1 seed Tayt Wolding, of New Salem-Almont, 3-2 for the crown at 132 pounds.
Kindred's Carter Schmitz lost in the state title match at 120 pounds and Carrington's Lucas Geiszler fell in the championship match at 138 pounds. Harvey-Wells County's Bailey Lawson lost a 7-3 decision in the 195-pound championship match, South Border's Jake Herr lost a 3-2 decision at 160 pounds and Central Cass' Jeremiah Sullivan lost a 10-0 at 170 pounds to round out area wrestlers.