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Adin Hastings, aka Big Red, is on a Mission

Adin Hastings was irked by a wrestling website’s Facebook post which cast doubt on his ability to win a Class 2A-1A state title at 195 pounds.

The writer predicted the eventual champion would be the winner of the semifinal between South Carroll sophomore Manny Rodrigues and Middletown junior Alex Hoy, the latter having pinned Hastings a week earlier in 5:59 of their Class 2A-1A West Regional final.

“The finals for 195 is going to be wrestled between [Rodrigues and Hoy] in the semifinals,” Hastings recalled of a dismissive assertion of him and senior semi-final rival Scott Beitzel of Northern-Garrett. “It was pretty annoying to the point where it still motivates me even right now.”

The problem was that the state tournament already was over, having taken place a day earlier. Hastings had already won states in overtime, 3-1, over Rodrigues, who had reached the finals following a 6-4 victory over Hoy. Hoy finished third following a 31-second fall against Beitzel, a 6-3 semifinal loser to Hastings.

“When I got home, I was reading the Maryland Wrestling uncensored site on Facebook, and someone had posted that the winner of states at 195 pounds was going to be whoever won the semifinal between Manny and Alex,” Hastings said.

“I did lose to Alex in the regional finals, but Hoy ended up losing to Manny Rodrigues in the semifinals and placing third, so I feel really good about the way I bounced back. When I read the same website a few hours later, the person had deleted the post I guess after they realized they were wrong.”

Nicknamed “Big Red,” for the color of his hair, Hastings became the Wildcats’ 25th state champion and the 13th under 21st-year coach Mike Rechtorovic, completing his season with a record of 44-1 (30 pins).

A two-time Washington County champion, Hastings went 37-4 (26 pins) as a freshman, winning the Class 1A West Regional Tournament crown and going 2-2 at states. Ranked No. 2 at 195 pounds by Legacy Wrestling, Hastings is 13-0 with eight pins so far, 94-5 for his career with 64 falls, and can earn his 100th career victory at the Damascus Holiday Tournament on December 27-28.

Hastings recalls dominating the Class 1A West Regional tournament as a ninth-grader, when he pinned two opponents in 83 and 47 seconds and the third in 2:58 of their title bout. As a freshman at states, Hastings pinned his first opponent in 3:10 before being decked himself in 2:51 of his quarterfinal against eventual third-place finisher Tae Simpson of Owings Mills. Hastings won his next bout, 6-2, before being eliminated after a 2-1 loss to the eventual fourth-place finisher, Carter Goscinski, of C. Milton Wright.

A victory over Simpson would have earned Hastings a match with then-unbeaten two-time state champion Noah Reho of Stephen Decatur. Reho tech-falled Simpson before being a runner-up following a close loss to South Carroll’s AJ Rodrigues, an eventual three-time Class 2A-1A state champion. The 17-year-old Hastings is an attractive college prospect standing 6-foot-1 and sporting a 4.0 grade point average. Hastings spoke to Legacy Wrestling in this Q&A.

Legacy Wrestling: When did you first start wrestling and how many, if any, junior league state titles did you win?

Adin Hastings: I won six junior league state titles. I started wrestling when I was 4, and I was small and chunky. I didn’t hit a growth spurt until I was about 11 or 12. That’s when I started to get taller and get slimmer after being so chunky. Up until then, there were some disadvantages I faced as far as the athleticism and maturity of some of the older guys I wrestled. For example, there were guys who were at the same weight, but they might already have hit puberty.

So, for me when it came to those situations, it was about being cautious. I would try to wrestle up as much as I could without having to go into another age group. Wrestling up is challenging but you must be cautious of how you wrestle these guys.

LW: When did you feel that you began to adjust and hit your stride?

AH: I would say when I was about 11 or 12 and I transferred clubs and started working with Brendon Colbert and his Dad, Michael Palmer, and Aaron Brooks’ Dad, John Brooks. That really elevated me. Remember that Aaron Brooks' is a North Hagerstown four-time state champion and Penn State three-time NCAA champion.

By far, that’s the best thing I did. They taught me a lot about how you incorporate and blend your mentality and technique, and how it can be hard to learn those things. It was the same thing with coach [Mike] Rechtorovic when I got to high school. You have to be calm and maintain a level thinking mentality in matches.

LW: What are your reflective thoughts on your performance at states as a freshman, and do you believe that weight was a factor?

AH: As a freshman I wrestled 160, but I weighed 175 pounds at the beginning of the year and I was three pounds over the night before states. If I would have won my quarterfinals match at states, I would have had to wrestle Noah Reho of Stephen Decatur. I was ahead in my quarterfinals match and got pinned in the second or third period. The next match I lost after I was ahead, 1-0, and gave up a late reversal. I was sucking weight and had wanted up to 170. But the guy above me on my team, Darby Bryant, ended up going 41-0 and winning states over [South Carroll’s eventual state champion] Rylan Moose. When Darby and I wrestled in the room, it was always a close match.

LW: How about last year?

AH: I started the year off at 182 and I decided to wrestle up at 195. I was giving up 15 pounds, but I did it for the team and it was better for us. The guy who was originally at 195 didn’t have the frame. In the end, I felt good about the weight. I felt energized and strong at that weight despite giving up 15 pounds. I was skeptical about it at first, but looking back at it, it was in my best interest and it was absolutely the right move. I ended up going 44-1 and winning states.

LW: What do you consider to be your biggest and most meaningful career win?

AH: I would say maybe my freshman year in the regional finals. I remember being on the bus right over to the regionals and coach [coach Mike Rechtorovic] showed me this book of four-timers who had won the regions. That made me want to win it even more. So it became really important for me to win regionals as a freshman. I would say that the other match was in the quarterfinals last year, where I pinned the guy in 45 seconds, that put me in the semifinals and meant that I was going to place in the state tournament. That was sentimental because the year before there were high expectations and I didn’t get past the quarterfinals. Not placing as a freshman gave me the understanding that it’s not always going to go your way. But after winning the semifinals, all of the stress went away.

LW: Are you okay with people calling you by the nickname “Big Red?”

AH: My dad, Jimmy, has been calling me that since I was a baby, so I’m fine with it. It’s cool. It’s different. Everyone has a nickname.

LW: What aspects of your style are you happy with and what are some aspects that you would like to improve on?

AH: I feel like I’m good at setting the pace and that benefits me against guys with different styles. It slows them down to my speed. What I need to work on is being more confident in certain positions where I know I can score. If there is an opening for a shot, I need to hesitate less.

LW: Where do you plan to go to college?

AH: That’s a hard question because there are a lot of options. I want a college that emphasizes academics, but which also has a solid wrestling program. I’ve been looking at several schools. As far as which schools they are, I would like to keep those under my hat.

LW: Are you anticipating that you’ll receive an academic and/or athletic scholarship?

AH: We haven’t discussed anything regarding the financials, but most of the schools are asking me to apply to their programs and a couple of them have asked for me to make a visit.

LW: I understand that you are taking college courses, is that true?

AH: Yes, I am. I want to major in biology in college and I’m attending Hagerstown Community College near where I live. I’m a little clocked out for academics in high school, so I am taking eight college classes, four of which I already have completed with four more to go. I have already taken English 101, world history 101, philosophy 101 and math 160. During this next semester I’ll be taking biology 113, psychology 101, math 161 and sports education.

LW: Have you discussed what college life will be like as an athlete with anyone who already has experienced it?

AH: Yes, I have. One of the people I’ve been speaking with is my club coach, Brendon Colbert. He was a three-time state finalist at North Hagerstown High who went to Bloomsburg. Brendon was saying how you have to be able to make adjustments to the balancing act of academics and the athletic side and how that can be difficult. Brendan said that it takes a determined individual to be a Division I college athlete. I also plan on reaching out to others as well. I was talking to some local guys I know well, and they go to Division III colleges. They’ve been giving me some insight into what that’s like as far as the workouts being hard and how you have to be able to set aside your time and to be able to manage all of that.

LW: What impression do you want to leave people with after seeing you wrestle this season?

AH: Last year, when I beat Manny Rodrigues [3-1 in overtime], I believe that there were some who thought that my state championship was a fluke because I had lost in the regional finals a week earlier. So this year, the impression that I want to leave is that I have their respect and that I should not be overlooked. I want them to know that I’m the legitimate state champion, and the only way that I can prove that is by winning another state title. That’s the goal.

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