by Jason Olson
Coon Rapids and Anoka wrestling programs took to Rochester for The Clash National Duals Dec. 30-31.
The Cardinals finished 16th out of 32 teams beating eight-time Tennessee state champions from Baylor in the opening round 36-24 but lost junior Nate Julkowski to a shoulder injury at 126 pounds.
“Nate was having a fantastic season this year entering the tournament with a 10-1 season record,” Coon Rapids coach Bob Adams said. “Losing him in the first match really hurt us. Even though we were still able to defeat Tennessee his loss would be felt later in the tournament.”
Next up was a meeting with perennial state-title competitor Apple Valley which went to the Eagles, 65-9.
According to Adams, they needed to rest bodies for later matches in the tournament and were very realistic about their chances against the Minnesota powerhouse. “We knew resting our kids would be more important later,” Adams said.
But the Cardinals lost a tough match to Colonial Forge, Va., 45-18 in which Coon Rapids won four of 14 matches to complete day one.
The Cardinals opened day two against Section 7AAA rival St. Michael-Albertville with a 43-20 loss. “There were many forces working against us starting at the coin toss, which we lost, giving STMA the better matches ups at two weight classes,” Adams said.
The Knights had lost to another section front runner Forest Lake in a dual meet two nights earlier. “So they were a little on the ornery side and took it to the Cards,” Adams said.
Coon Rapids’ Michael Burkhardt, ranked No. 1 at 220 pounds, was pinned by STMA’s Mitchell Eull at the 3:42 mark followed by STMA’s Nick Edling earning a pin over Coon Rapids’ Shad Olson in 55 seconds. The Cardinals’ top ranked heavyweight Tanner Lowe won a 4-3 decision over STMA’s Michael Kessler.
Coon Rapids dropped a 38-36 decision against the top-ranked Wisconsin team, Luxemburg-Casco, in the next round.
The match came down to a referee’s judgment call as Lowe was penalized one point for stalling after he unsnapped his headgear to adjust it after going out of bounds. “He and his opponent had gone out of bounds and Lowe’s headgear was out of place, covering his face,” Adams said. “The referee had his back turned from Lowe and only saw it unsnapped, assuming he had taken it off to catch his breath. It was a terrible call and cost Tanner the match and Cards the dual meet.”
Lowe went on to lose the match 6-3. Blane Tschida won the next match by fall at 41 seconds followed by Jarrod Julkowski at 113 pounds with a fall for the Cardinals at 5:11 and Joe Anderson earned a fall at 1:51 at 120 pounds. Coon Rapids needed one more decision to secure the win, but Nick Olson succumbed to Matt Ronsmann at 126 pounds by a fall at 4:13 in the dual finale.
The final match of the tournament for Coon Rapids came down to a meeting against Atwater-Grove City-Cosmos, who had pulled the upset of the tournament by downing perennial power Carl Sandberg, Ill. ACGC handed Coon Rapids a 45-18 loss in the match.
Tschida was the lone Cardinals wrestler to go undefeated as he compiled a 5-0 record at 106.
Before heading to The Clash, Coon Rapids played host to a triangular meet Dec. 22, with wins over Henry Sibley (68-9) and a Northwest Suburban Conference win over Centennial 46-22.
• Anoka came up short against Clovis 59-12 and Marist 52-21 before dropping a 34-32 dual to Prior Lake in the bracket’s seventh-place match.
Anoka’s Dan Davitt recorded the lone pin against Clovis 50 seconds into his 220-pound bout. Jeremy Beaman won a double overtime decision at 145 pounds and Ryan Norton gave the Tornadoes back-to-back wins at 152 pounds with a 7-5 decision.
Anoka’s Kyle Begin (170) and Grant Burkland (182) gave the team consecutive pins (3:29 and 3:25, respectively), while Beaman earned a fall at 3:55 at 145 pounds.
Kyle Begin won a 13-1 major decision against Prior Lake’s Alex Hart and Ryan Norton earned a 10-1 major decision at 152 pounds followed by Sam Begin’s fall at 1:33 at 160 pounds. Beaman won a 2-0 decision over Matt Kahnke at 145 pounds.
Anoka went 1-2 Dec. 30 with a 42-26 loss to Arrowhead Union and 35-31 loss to Corona Del Sol before defeating Ironwood Ridge 54-15 for the lone tournament win by taking 10 straight matches, including a fall in 36 seconds by Connor Sorkilmo at 126 pounds. Norton won a 2-0 decision at 160 pounds and Cole Eischens earned a fall at 2:16 at 106 pounds.
• Andover and Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony wrestled at The Rumble on the Red wrestling championships in Fargo, N.D., Dec. 29-30.
The Huskies finished 29th with 56 team points, while Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony placed 58th with 10 team points among the field of 60 teams.
Andover senior Sam Stewart lost a heartbreaking 2-1 overtime decision in the championship final at 145 pounds to Madelia-Truman junior Adam Cooling. Stewart fell to 15-2 overall this season after winning with two majors, a 13-6 decision and a pin at 3:35 in the semifinals.
Cole Westerlund went 2-2 at 152 with a 6-4 decision and 11-0 major decision after losing to Cambridge-Isanti’s Cody Skog in the opening round by fall at 4:55.