CEC takes third against top-ranked schools
A year removed from the strongest wrestling campaign in school history, the young Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Lumberjacks proved they can stay with some of the top teams in the state Friday, Jan. 19, by placing third in the seven-team Chisago Lakes Take...
A year removed from the strongest wrestling campaign in school history, the young Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Lumberjacks proved they can stay with some of the top teams in the state Friday, Jan. 19, by placing third in the seven-team Chisago Lakes Takedown Cancer Tournament.
Despite not finishing in the top two spots on the podium, the 'Jacks picked up seven third-place finishes, which helped guide them to the top-three finish. Even more impressive is the fact that CEC faced a field that included the state's No. 2-ranked Class AAA team, the Anoka Tornadoes, as well as another top AAA team, Park High School of Cottage Grove.
"I am very happy with how the team is progressing," CEC coach Al Denman said. "Overall, this team is very competitive for their age. I feel they are ahead of the game in their development, which will be seen in the next two years as they start to dominate."
Alex Peterson kicked things off with a third-place finish in the 106-pound division, followed by a similar finish at 113 pounds from Zach Peterson.
Tyler Harms-Synkiew added another third-place finish in the 120-pound class and Zeb Wehr did the same in the 132-pound class.
In the 145-pound division, Justin Jones provided another strong third-place finish, as did Reese Miller-Sheldon at 170 pounds and Hunter Senarghi in the 182-pound division.
"The third-place finishes are as high as we went, but that was good with Anoka competing," Denman said. "I don't see huge swings in the teams consistency, but we are seeing steady, incremental progress in skills and tactics as the season progresses."
Anoka won the event, with Park taking second. CEC finished third, followed by Becker, Chisago Lakes, Proctor-Hermantown and Richfield.
Beyond the third-place finishes, the Lumberjacks also notched a fourth-place finish from Jordan Allen in the 126-pound class, a fifth-place at 160 pounds from Sam Bolling and a pair of sixth places from Griffin Fjeld and Trevor Lund at 138 pounds and 152 pounds, respectively.
"I thought the performance of Sam Bolling, a second-year wrestler and a 10th-grader, really caught my attention," Denman said. "He is a very strong and agile athlete on the mat. His fifth-place finish is not representative of how well he competed. He is essentially a 152-pound wrestler wrestling up in the 160-pound class. Sam is showing that he is picking up the technique and positions of wrestling very quickly and will be a force in the future."
The entire team appears poised to be a force to be reckoned with in the near future. With only one senior on the roster and a team that is consistently getting top-five finishes from wrestlers who are sophomores, and even younger, it looks like this is a juggernaut in the making.
"Comparing apples to apples age-wise, I feel that we are ahead of the game," Denman said. "The third-place finish was very good in my opinion considering our age and since we are short three wrestlers."