Cloquet hosts Section 7AA wrestling tournament
February 25, 2022
For the first time since 2008, Cloquet will host the Section 7AA individual wrestling tournament this weekend. The individual portion of the tournament is held to determine the top two wrestlers in the section who will go on to the state tournament. The event starts Friday and runs through Saturday afternoon.
“We are excited to host the tournament, and I really encourage people who have never seen a wrestling tournament to come and see what it is all about,” said Cloquet-Esko-Carlton wrestling coach Al Denman. “The excitement and the craziness is incredible, and for people who have never experienced a wrestling tournament they will find it so exciting that I can’t imagine they wouldn’t want to come back.”
Including the Lumberjacks, there will be 12 teams that will have athletes wrestling. Among those wrestling for CEC will be seventh-grader Aiden Theisen at 106 pounds, sophomore Alex Comer at 113, Bohdon Fjeld at 138, sophomore Warrant Hietela at 145 and sophomore Carter Horvat at 170 pounds.
Doors open on Friday at noon with wrestling starting at 1 p.m.
“We will have four mats going at one time, and that means eight wrestlers on those mats wrestling, so there will be fans, parents and coaches of all those wrestlers screaming and yelling, and the intensity will be incredible,” said Denman. “I just think that people who have never seen a tournament like this can’t appreciate it until they are there.”
On Saturday, wrestling starts at 11 a.m. with the medal round beginning at 4 p.m. The top two finishers advance to the state wrestling tournament.
Since the beginning of the wrestling program, the Lumberjacks have had nine wrestlers make it the state tournament. Of those, the top finisher was Devin Reynolds in 2017, when he took runner-up in the heavyweight division. Michael Land qualified twice, in 2006 and 2007. His brother Jordan Land also qualified twice, in 2007 and 2008. Simon Thill qualified in 2007. Connor Denman is CEC’s only three-time qualifier, as he qualified in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Tate Olson qualified in 2015 along with Mitchell Borchardt and Reynolds. Daniel Stevenson qualified in 2017 and Tyler Harms-Synkiew qualified in 2018.
In all, there will be 168 wrestlers vying for a slot at the state tournament this coming weekend.
“I think the best way to describe what people will see is kind of like a popcorn popper,” Denman said. “There will be an explosion of noise over there and then another explosion of cheering over here, and it will be continuous with fans cheering and energetic and noisy.”