‘Jacks pin Jaguars — againIt’s safe to say the Cloquet-Esko-Barnum wrestling team has had Hinckley-Finlayson’s number this year.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
It’s safe to say the Cloquet-Esko-Barnum wrestling team has had Hinckley-Finlayson’s number this year.
After knocking off the Jaguars on the mats just over two weeks ago to earn their first victory of the year, the Lumberjacks again defeated Hinckley-Finlayson Friday night on the road.
The win marked the second of the young season for fourth-year head coach Al Denman’s ‘Jacks, as they first cruised past the Jaguars 47-33 and then fell to Zimmerman 63-16 in the exciting triangular meet.
“We can hold our own out there,” said Denman. “We’re gaining a little bit more ground every meet and I can really see improvement around here. We’re really developing and that’s nice to see out of this group.”
Though their record isn’t the most appealing, things have been quite difficult for CEB (2-12). With the number of wrestlers dropping to roughly 25 after a handful of kids called it quits, the ‘Jacks have been forced to forfeit four weight classes at the start of every match.
In other words, before the referee blows his whistle, Denman’s bunch is already down 24-0.
“Our forfeits are killing us,” Denman said. “It’s tough to climb out of a 24-point hole, but we’re just doing the best with what we have. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to this team; they’re really sticking with it and doing their best.”
Friday, senior standout Jordan Land posted a pair of victories on the mats, as the two-time state participant pinned his two opponents of the night. The two wins move Land’s overall record to a perfect 5-0 on the season – all by pin – despite suffering a shoulder injury in Foley to kickoff the year.
“Jordan just throws kids around the mats,” laughed Denman. “He really is something special.”
Along with Land’s dominance, captains Nathaniel Schulz and Jake Baker also racked up victories for the ‘Jacks Friday, while Cody Hraban, Gage Savage, Michael Wilson, Jolynne Denman, Alex Citrowske and Myles Wilson also earned wins.
“I’m pleased with what I’m seeing,” said Denman. “Wrestling is a physically demanding sport and honestly, it’s hard. Each week I’m looking for us to improve a little more and so far, we’re doing just that.”
And really, the season doesn’t get going for a couple more months.
“Right now, the season is young,” said Denman. “We’re working on things each week, but the season doesn’t really matter until the end of February when the conference, section and state meets come into play.
“Wrestling is a 10-year process,” continued Denman. “Everyone knows that it takes time. And right now, we’re ahead of the game. We’re just in our fourth year and some of things we’ve done multiple times, many coaches would love to do just once. I’m really proud.”
The ‘Jacks were back on the mats at Rush City-Braham Tuesday night when this edition of the Pine Journal went to press. CEB will next be in action Jan. 5 when they host Mille Lacs in their second home match of the season.