Wrestler of the Year: Groundbreaking Twin
Lance Hastings had a lot to prove.
“My freshman year, I tried football. I was a runt. Elementary school, middle school, I’d always been picked on,” he said. “(Football) didn’t go well for me. I thought about wrestling, but the Borgus brothers (Craig and Kyle) scared me.”
Hastings hit the mat as a sophomore and the mat hit back. He started 0-8. He almost quit but the Borgus brothers got him to stick with it.
“Then I won my first match,” he said. “I didn’t feel anything like that until I made state.”
Two years after the dreadful debut, Lance Hastings was a state qualifier along with twin brother Logan – the first in the brief history of the IHS wrestling program. A district champion as well, Lance set Ram records for single-season wins (45-8), pins (33) and quickest pin (eight seconds) and thus is the Daily News Wrestler of the Year.
“I had never wanted anything in my life like going to state,” Hastings said. “It is something I can share with my brother. I couldn’t have wished for a better training partner (and) motivator than my brother.”
Lance wrestled in the 195-pound weight class as a senior after having competed at 170 as a junior. Logan Hastings had an impressive record of his own – 35-11 at 182 pounds, placing third in the district and fourth in the region – even though he lost part of his season to sickness.
Not surprisingly, their styles were similar when they got started under Craig Borgus, who re-launched the Interlachen wrestling program five years ago and the father of the aforementioned Borgus brothers.
“One thing that stood out was they appeared gangly and uncoordinated. They hurt themselves or someone else with an elbow or a knee going where it wasn’t supposed to go,” the coach said. “But they had great respect for the program – what they could achieve through the program. When you have a new program and tell people you can make them champions, people don’t believe it.
“They wanted to be about the run of the mill. They wanted to achieve.”
So they listened.
Lance took direction well, executing move by move as mapped out before matches. A wrestling coach in upstate New York before coming to Interlachen, Borgus stressed lower-body moves in contrast to many of his colleagues in the district and region. It was a successful ankle sweep that led to Hastings’ eight-second pinfall during the U.S. Army Duals at Jacksonville Terry Parker.
Hastings trusted in the long-range plan Borgus laid out – competing at the district level as a sophomore, placing in district and making regionals as a junior and then winning district and going to state as a senior.
“I wish I had one more year,” Hastings said. “But just working in there, I can show my school we can make it. We’re not a losing school. We can go to state. Kyle Borgus, who was wrestler of the year two years ago, wanted me to pass him. I want the upcoming guys to pass me.”
The next hurdle for an IHS wrestler will be placing at state. Hastings was 1-2 there, struggling against a 6-foot-6 opponent in the first round. He is optimistic for the future of his program as well as that of his county rival.
“Us and Palatka are going to have a fun time next year,” he said. “They had a lot of new kids this year and we’re going to have a lot of new ones.”
The Hastings brothers’ development on the mat coincided with their development on the football field. Lance credits lessons learned in wrestling with his ability to contribute in football. The brothers played both sides of the line as juniors and worked at tight end last season.
They graduate on Tuesday. Lance is unsure of his immediate plans beyond completing his welding course at First Coast Technical College but would like to wrestle again.
In a perfect world, he’ll keep going against Logan.
“You’ve got a twin, you know what they’re going to do,” Lance said. “It’s probably the best training partner you could get.”