For two full days at the Xcel Center, the platoon of Cambridge-Isanti wrestlers marched through their matches on a duty extended into Saturday night. The Bluejackets set a team record with six medals brought home from the State Wrestling Tournament, highlighted by runner-up spots earned by Clayton Jennissen and Travis Holt.
“It was a great effort by all the guys. We peaked at the right time and wrestled hard throughout the tourney,” said C-I Coach Neil Jennissen.
C. Jennissen, a junior at 171, began State in a brutal battle with Hastings’ Swenson where the lone difference was a Jennissen takedown in the second period of the 3-1 decision. The Bluejacket followed with a 9-5 win over 2nd-ranked Hensel of Lakeville South, then he knocked off Maple Grove’s Rekuski 10-5 in the semifinals with four takedowns and a reverse.
“The year before, Hensel was a Greco-Roman champ known for his big throws. Well, Clayton can throw, too. That was a wild match which went all over the mat,” said Coach Jennissen.
Top-ranked Jake Waste of Apple Valley was Jennissen’s foe in the 171 championship. The Eagle was leading just 3-1 in the second period when he muscled Jennissen to the mat for a fall at 3:07.
“Waste is an old nemesis of Clayton’s where they met many times before. Clayton had a good game plan in place where we tried to get Waste into the third period, but Clayton slipped on a single-leg attempt and Waste took advantage,” replayed Coach Jennissen. “It was a big deal for Clayton to reach the finals, and he gets another shot next year.”
Sophomore Holt at 135 rocked in his first State match by taking a 15-0 tech fall over Wayzata’s Droegemueller. Things tightened up considerably when he worked past Tartan’s O’Hara 3-2 in the quarterfinals. Holt then threw Osseo’s 3rd-ranked Hammer to the mat to win an 8-4 overtime decision in the semifinals.
“O’Hara is a tough ninth grader, but Travis was a little too slick for him. Hammer, a strong bull of a kid, came into the semifinals undefeated, but Travis kept him in control. In overtime, Hammer tried to throw his big headlock, but Travis rolled through it and used his leverage to win out,” said Coach Jennissen.
Waiting for Holt in the championship was top-ranked Matt Kelliher of Apple Valley. The Eagle turned Holt three times in the first period en route to a 16-0 tech fall for the title.
“We were hoping Travis could match up a little better with Kelliher,” said Coach Jennissen. “But the positive thing is Travis was our first 10th-grader to reach the finals since Luke Becker.”
4-for-4 in consolation medals
Prior to championship round, the Bluejackets went 4-for-4 in their 3rd and 5th place matches Saturday night at the Xcel.
Leading off was freshman Cody Skog in the 140 3rd-place match. Skog quickly attacked Irondale’s 5th-ranked Weinman, sticking the Knight in just 1:20. Skog began his State journey with a 10-4 decision over Bemidji’s Doty and a 15-5 loss to runner-up LaChance of Hastings in the quarterfinals. He then posted a pin, a 15-1 major and a 10-7 win over 6th-ranked Brazil of Cooper to reach the 3rd-place match.
“Cody came into the tourney with a dinged-up knee, and he just fought hard out there,” said Coach Jennissen. “He was down 16-5 before getting a big pin to stay alive in the consolation quarters, then he used a cradle to break a 7-7 tie to beat Brazil.”
Senior Adam Kelling at 145 had to work back after dropping his opening match 6-0 to eventual runner-up Woiwor of Apple Valley. The Bluejacket posted a pin and 9-0 decision in the wrestlebacks before losing 4-0 to Albert Lea’s Westerlund. Kelling closed out his high school career in dramatic fashion– using a headlock for a takedown and nearfall in the final 20 seconds to defeat Prior Lake’s Carlisle 6-2 in the 5th-place match.
“Adam was our hard-luck kid who had a tough time getting out of sections in the past seasons, so it was great to see him get his turn at State,” said Jennissen. “That was a big 9-0 decision over Glasby of Brainerd since Glasby beat Adam in our Bluejacket Invite back in January.’
Senior Cody Glines took advantage of his first State trip by also placing 5th at 152. Glines’ strength turned an early deficit into a 10-6 victory in his opening match against Cooper’s Napiwocki. He followed with a 12-7 decision in the quarters before 3rd-ranked Adam Jackson of Rosemount advanced with a 9-6 decision. Glines next dropped a 15-2 major in the wrestlebacks. In the 5th-place match, he worked in a takedown and reversal to defeat Chaska’s 8th-ranked Egesdahl 6-5.
“Cody’s just a tough-minded kid who got back to basics with his stance and didn’t chase guys around the mat. He came within an eyelash of being a State finalist, then he had a great match with Egesdahl to wrap up his career,” described Coach Jennissen.
The final C-I medal was earned by Derek Swanson placing 5th at 189. Swanson began State smartly with an 8-3 decision over Osseo’s Volp. Lakeville South’s Peterson then tipped the senior 3-1, but Swanson responded with a fall and a gained forfeit. A 3-0 loss then sent Swanson to a rematch with Peterson in the 5th-place match. His final big move was a quick fireman’s takedown in the third period of his 6-3 victory.
“Derek was the lightest guy in the 189 brackets by far,” finished Coach Jennissen. “He put together a real nice season for us, and it was great to see him use his vintage fireman’s carry for the points he needed to win that last match.”
Senior Mark Volker and junior Ty Tischer also represented the Bluejackets at State. Volker was pinned in the second period in his lone match at 160. Tischer opened with a pin at 125, fell 13-3 to eventual champ Trom of Apple Valley, then took a 4-2 OT win while going 2-2 at State.
• Coach Jennissen calculated that his Bluejackets placed 4th in the Class AAA Individuals Tourney behind Apple Valley, Hastings and St. Michael-Albertville (if team scores were compiled like at a regular-season individual invite). Filling out his top 10 in team points were Prior Lake, White Bear Lake, Albert Lea, Owatonna, St. Cloud Apollo and Forest Lake.
The Bluejackets also brought home an academic gold standard award with a 3.72 cumulative GPA for the team.