Tornadoes ninth-graders hoist team state title

Anoka wrestling lifted the Ninth Grade State Tournament title following a 13-0 perfect season which came to an end in Hastings Jan. 19.

Anoka’s Cole Eischens, left, tries to control Elk River’s Chase McGuiggens during their 113-pound bout Jan. 10. Photo by Bill Jones

Anoka’s Cole Eischens, left, tries to control Elk River’s Chase McGuiggens during their 113-pound bout Jan. 10. Photo by Bill Jones

Anoka, the top seed from Section 7AAA, received an opening-round bye before facing Hastings which stopped St. Francis in the opening round to earn a rematch against the Tornadoes from two weeks prior at the Eastview Duals, 36-33. Anoka once again topped the Raiders by a 35-34 score thanks to a strong effort from the entire roster.

Hastings won the first three matches in the previous meeting. This time the Tornadoes won the opening two of three matches before putting together even more wins. Anoka’s forfeited at 170 all season and after illness kept the 182-pounder off the mat, Hastings led 34-29 ahead of the final match of the dual – Heavyweight. Anoka’s Jeremy Rodman scored a pin to pull out the final one-point win.

Anoka rolled from that point on with a 56-18 win over Foley in the third round followed by a 56-15 win over Minneota in the semifinal.

Perennial Section 7AAA champion St. Michael-Albertville faced fellow Section 7AAA foe Anoka in the final. Anoka stayed strong to top the Knights 40-26 for the Tornadoes first-ever Ninth Grade State Team Championship. The last varsity state title came in 1990.

Anoka’s varsity roster was at Eden Prairie for an individual tournament. Brandon Krone won the weight class title at 152-pounds for the lone Tornadoes title. Preston Flaherty finished runner-up at 132 pounds and Matt Njos was third at 170 pounds. Three wrestlers garnered fourth-place finishes including Liam Strong (126), Sam Begin (145) and Jake Olson (195). Kodi Krone (138) and Royce Myren (182) each placed fifth.

Jason Olson is at jason.olson@ecm-inc.com

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