Cloquet-Esko wrestlers win, then loseThe Cloquet-Esko wrestling program closed the team portion of the postseason, falling to Grand Rapids 58-16 in a Section 7AA quarterfinal dual match Tuesday evening in Coleraine, Minn.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
The Cloquet-Esko wrestling program closed the team portion of the postseason, falling to Grand Rapids 58-16 in a Section 7AA quarterfinal dual match Tuesday evening in Coleraine, Minn.
Throttled by the storied Thunderhawks, the lower-seeded Lumberjacks lashed Virginia Area 42-17 earlier in the night’s preliminary round, the same team Cloquet-Esko eased past last season for their program’s first-ever postseason wrestling victory in history.
The Lumberjacks – a varsity program since 2006 – are a young, but improving team, according to inaugural Coach Al Denman.
Last Friday, Cloquet-Esko placed fourth out of six teams — despite forfeiting five weight classes — at the Great River Conference meet in Pine City. Wrestlers Seth Stevens (106 pounds), Mitchell Borchardt (120 pounds), Conner Denman (126 pounds) and Reid Borchardt (145 pounds) were all crowned conference champions.
“We had one conference champion last year, and one the year before that,” Al Denman said. “To be a conference champion – in any sport – is impressive. But in a high-combat sport like wrestling, that’s saying a lot. We had four champions. It was an outstanding night.”
“It says a lot about our program,” added Al’s son, Conner, a Cloquet eighth-grader. “We work hard from 4 until 6 p.m. every night at practice. We’re young, but have potential and continue pushing.”
Denman and others are amongst Section 7AA individual meet frontrunners heading into Friday and Saturday’s action at Hibbing.