Esko entertains wrestling fans for a night

CLOQUET--Standing at a chiseled 6-foot-2, 285 pounds, Brock Lesnar is a muscular professional wrestler in the World Wrestling Entertainment business.

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Cloquet-Esko freshman Dilan Lauer turns Rush City-Braham junior Jesse Anderson onto his back for a pin during Tuesday night's wrestling meet in Esko. The Lumberjacks defeated the Knights 43-33. Dave Harwig/

CLOQUET-Standing at a chiseled 6-foot-2, 285 pounds, Brock Lesnar is a muscular professional wrestler in the World Wrestling Entertainment business.

One of his biggest fans is 6-foot-2, 203-pounder Dilan Lauer, a young-faced Cloquet freshman in his first year of wrestling for Cloquet-Esko, but similarly, quite the entertainer.

It took less than two periods for Lauer to pin Rush City-Braham junior Jesse Anderson and lead the Lumberjacks to a come-from-behind 43-33 victory over the Tigers Tuesday in Esko before a supportive and mostly standing crowd.

“If he would have gotten pinned, we would have lost,” said Al Denman, coach of a Cloquet-Esko team that capped their regular season with 11 victories and a winning record, both program bests. “There was a lot riding on that match.”

The match between Great River Conference foes was nip-and-tuck all night. In fact, eight lead changes occurred, but it was Lauer’s pin - in the second-to-last bout - that sealed it.


“I was looking at the scoreboard,” said Cloquet sophomore teammate Conner Denman of their 33-31 deficit until Lauer made it 37-33. “We were all depending in him.”

Lauer, a soft-spoken teenager, is in his first year at Cloquet and is happy to be in the sport, he said. He was joined in wins by Denman, Griffin Fjeld, Alex Land, Evan Pokornowski, Devin Reynolds and brothers Seth and Daniel Stevens on a neat night of wrestling.

The Lumberjacks compete and practice in Cloquet all season except for one night per year, which was Tuesday in Esko.

Rush City-Braham Coach Andrew Hackenmueller, who ironically has been to Esko twice now, enjoys the large venue.

“There was plenty of space for our wrestlers to warm up and get ready,” he said. “The fans were great. They filled up the stands nicely and got into it. We’d definitely come back.”

“I love coming here; most of our teammates come from Esko,” said Conner Denman, whose own second-period pin moved his individual record to 27-6. “It’s just fair.”

“It’s nice,” added a sweaty Evan Pokornowski afterward.

Coach Denman agreed, noting their three gyms available in Cloquet, as well as Esko, is a luxury setup. Cloquet-Esko will host the conference meet on Friday in Cloquet.


“We are very fortunate,” he said. “Cloquet - accidently - was set up very well for wrestling.”

Lauer meanwhile, is enjoying his time wrestling, posting numerous pins in an almost Lesnar-like manner.

“It’s been fun. I didn’t know much about it,” Lauer admitted. “The only wrestling I watched before was WWE.”

Related Topics: WRESTLING
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