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Woodbury wrestling: Royals' upset bid of Hastings falls short

Woodbury split its triangular Thursday in Woodbury, picking up a win over Cretin-Derham Hall and losing to eighth-ranked Hastings.

The Royals faced a tough task in taking down perennial Hastings and head coach Justin Smith said the team needed to win three toss-ups in order to have a chance. It didn't happen for Smith and Woodbury in a 47-19 loss where it lost all three of those toss-ups.

"To beat a top-10 team like Hastings we need to win those matchups," Smith said.

Second-ranked Justin Herold-Plakut delivered a big victory over eighth-ranked Dan Marquette at 160 pounds. The two squared off Jan. 5 at the Cannon Falls tournament where Herold-Plakut defeated Marquette 3-2 but this time Herold-Plakut put together a determined effort to handily beat Marquette.

"It was nice to see him come out and thump him," Smith said.

The Royals wrestled without heavyweight Josh McClain who was out due to illness and had to forfeit at that spot.

Things turned around quickly against Cretin-Derham Hall where Woodbury won all but one weight class in a 73-6 rout.

Junior John McNiff stepped in at 195 pounds for the Royals and got a fall in the first period. McNiff provided a boost for Woodbury in the upperweights, a spot where the team needs a lift.

"He's a kid that we're going to look at later in the year," Smith said.

The Royals have faced a rigorous schedule after competing at Cannon Falls and at the Rumble on the Red. In that time the team has made strides, Smith said.

Woodbury will face Forest Lake Thursday at Forest Lake.