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Wrestling: 'Jacks hang tough in home triangular

The Cloquet-Esko-Carlton wrestling team hosted its final home meet of the season Friday as the senior wrestlers, managers and their parents were honored on the mat between matches.

"It was a fun night of wrestling and a great way to honor the seniors and their parents," said CEC coach Al Denman.

CEC opened the triangular by losing a tough 42-34 decision to Ogilvie, having to forfeit four matches.

"Had we had a full roster there is no doubt in my mind we would have won," Denman said.

Freshman Aiden Theisen kicked things off with an impressive 14-5 major decision for the 'Jacks which gave them 14 points at the 121-pound weight division.

"Aiden went to state last year as an eighth-grader and he's had another good year for us," said Denman. "He's very skilled and slick as a wrestler."

Bo Fjeld, a senior, won by forfeit, at 152. At 160, senior Warren Hietala secured a win by pinning his opponent in just 16 seconds.

"Warren's been up and down this season, but he is certainly talented enough to place in the top two in the sections," Denman said. "He's lost a couple of close matches, but all of his losses have been against ranked guys, so he is really closing the gap on them."

CEC also got an impressive third-period pin by Aiden Reuvers at 172, a forfeit win by senior Carter Horvat at 189, and a second-period pin by sophomore Damion Newcomb at 215 to wrap up the match.

Following the opening match the 'Jacks took on Pine City and lost another decision, this time by a 39-34 score.

"We (were) still looking for our first dual meet win, but it is hard when you have to forfeit matches, because we don't have a full roster," Denman said. "If you only count the guys that actually go out and wrestle on the mat we'd have quite a few wins."

Against the Dragons, Theisen added another impressive win with a 7-0 score. At 139, Brendan Malloy added a nice win by pinning his opponent in the third period. The 'Jacks then were the recipients of three straight forfeit wins by Kaden High at 152, Bo Fjeld at 160, and Hietala at 172.

"The tough thing for Fjeld is he is coming back from an injury he suffered in football and he has had only five matches," Denman said of the senior. "Healthwise, things are starting to come together for him, so we were excited to see him on the mat and then both teams forfeited against him so that was tough."

At 189, Carter Horvat ended his home senior season with an impressive win by pinning his opponent late in the third period.

"People don't realize Carter has had many serious knee injuries and hadn't wrestled in two years," said Denman. "You learn a lot in your sophomore and junior seasons, so to lose those and be doing what he is doing is impressive."

The 'Jacks were also missing their only other senior wrestler, Alex Comer, who was injured in the second week of the season.

"Alex got kicked in the back of the knee and that damaged his ACL and meniscus," said Denman. "He is a good athlete and strong, so we hope we might be able to get him back in the next three weeks."

CEC will continue to use the regular season matches as a way of developing skills and ready themselves for sectionals, which is not too far down the road.

"We are way ahead of last year as far as what we are doing on the mat and as far as our numbers go," said Denman.

The 'Jacks include girls on the wrestling team again this season. A pair of sophomores, Erika Moran and Lana Wise, both picked up wins on Friday.

Also honored on Friday night, along with the senior wrestlers and their parents, were senior co-managers of the boys team Makenna Horvat and Clara Wheale, who both play instrumental parts in the CEC