Whether it’s wrestling another highly ranked athlete or overcoming injury, Adam Hedin doesn’t back down from a challenge.
The Rosemount senior is seeking to become the school’s first wrestler to win back-to-back individual state championships. He posted a 45-0 record en route to the 132-pound title in Class 3A last year despite competing the entire season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
“Adam isn’t one to shy away from competition. He likes to be challenged,” Rosemount coach Brett Larson said. “What he wound up accomplishing last year is pretty remarkable.”
Hedin became the school’s seventh state champion but only the second to win as a junior.
“Everything fell into place perfectly last year,” Hedin said. “It felt like it was meant to be.”
Hedin hurt his knee during a preseason match in November. It was diagnosed as an ACL injury three months later — and before the Section 3 tournament. He put off surgery until after the state tournament.
“A couple of times it ballooned up, massively,” Hedin said. “I knew something was wrong, but it gradually went away and I ignored it. I iced my knee a lot, and fought through the pain.”
In January, Hedin set his season in motion when he went up a weight class, to 138 pounds, and won the Rumble on the Red despite being seeded sixth. He defeated a three-time state champion from South Dakota and a five-time state champion from North Dakota.
“He beat some pretty phenomenal wrestlers there,” Larson said. “He always wants to test himself.”
Hedin finished fourth in the same weight class at the state tournament the previous season, compiling a mark of 41-6. He has appeared in the state tournament as an individual for four consecutive years.
The final match of his sophomore season set the tone for last year. He lost to Owatonna freshman Brandon Moen, whom Hedin had defeated earlier in the season, in the third-place match.
“I got my butt kicked [13-4] at the end of that match,” Hedin said. “That was a tough loss. I had nine months to relive that match.”
In that time he changed his wrestling regimen, becoming ‘‘totally committed to the sport, both in the wrestling room and at home,” said Hedin, who plans to wrestle in college at St. Cloud State, the defending NCAA Division II champion. “I started to really watch what I ate and stopped going out on weekends. I pretty much cut out everything that was holding me back.”
By gaining motivation through losing, he said, “I quickly make changes, so the same thing doesn’t happen again.”
In Rosemount’s season opener against Farmington, Hedin went up to the 145-pound weight class to take on No. 3-ranked Jamin LeDuc. He recorded a 6-2 victory.
“I got taken down first in that match, and wasn’t too happy,” Hedin said. “I kept my cool, and came back.”
Hedin followed that up with three victories at 138 pounds — where he is ranked No. 1 in the state by the Guillotine — to win that weight class in the Shakopee Invitational. He added two more victories to stretch his winning streak to 51 consecutive matches. He is the school’s all-time winningest wrestler with a career record of 168-33.
“In today’s society, too many want to do well but aren’t willing to put the time in to get better,” Larson said. “Adam has put his time in and he deserves what he has earned. He is the most complete wrestler I have ever coached.”