C-I’s Skog shoots to State title

Cambridge-Isanti senior Cody Skog shot in on Lakeville North’s Westrich in the 160 lb. title match won 13-4 (right). At left, Skog smartly wrestled for an 8-0 win over top-ranked Carlson of Willmar in the quarterfinals.   Photos by Kat Ladwig, ECM Sports
Cambridge-Isanti senior Cody Skog shot in on Lakeville North’s Westrich in the 160 lb. title match won 13-4. Photos by Kat Ladwig, ECM Sports

Senior Cody Skog earned Cambridge-Isanti wrestling’s ninth individual State title after a clean run through the Class AAA 160 lb. brackets which wrapped up Saturday night at the Xcel Center. Skog’s work highlighted a fantastic weekend for the Bluejackets when four medals were gathered.

Friday afternoon, Skog began with an 8-3 decision over Sorenson of Owatonna, then he shut out top-ranked Colten Carlson of Willmar 8-0 in the quarterfinals that evening.

“I wrestled Sorenson earlier in the year and pinned him really fast, so I wasn’t really sure what a full match was going to be like. I just tried to wrestle him smart in that first round at State,” said Skog. “Watching Carlson in the (State) team tourney, he would shoot for a lot of doubles. So I was ready for that. He took a bad shot, I pulled him up and threw him to his back for a five-point move– then just played it safe with another takedown late.”

Next in line for the semifinals Saturday morning was 3rd-ranked Sean O’Neil of Prior Lake. It would be Skog’s tightest match which he held for a 3-1 decision.

“I lost to him by a point in the last 10 seconds when I faced him in the Christmas Tournament. I knew it would be important to get an early lead, so I got a takedown in the first 30 seconds, then I got my escape to start the second period,” said Skog. “He’s more of a defensive wrestler, so I wrestled as smart as I could.

“Next was the wait for the championship matches at night, and that seemed like forever.”

Fourth-ranked Skog would face 5th-ranked Lucas Westrich of Lakeville North. It turned into the Bluejacket’s largest margin of victory when he racked up a 13-4 major with five takedowns, a two-point nearfall and an escape for the blue medal.

“I wrestled him earlier at the Rumble on the Red, and I beat him for 3rd. He’s a really dangerous wrestler. In his semis match, he was losing the whole way but won with a throw and pin at the end,” said Skog. “We knew I had to be careful, so I stayed with the ankle pick for the whole match. My shots were really low on the legs so he couldn’t do much.”

Skog’s 41-5 senior season finished with his arm raised while being rotated to view the crowd at the Xcel.IMG_4691

“I remember looking up and seeing a bunch of rows of family and really close friends who I didn’t know were going to be there,” he recalled. “I just pointed up to them and smiled. It was just a crazy feeling.”

Cody’s father, Darrell Skog, was a wrestler, as was older brother, Ethan, who Cody teamed with on the Meadow Creek Christian squad before moving to the C-I program.

“My brother was my practice partner all the way up to my eighth grade when he graduated. That has been the coolest thing with wrestling is how much he’s been a part of my career,” said Skog. “When he’s home, he’ll still come to wrestle with me in the room– and he can still beat me!”

Looking back at this season, he examined, “Coming into this senior year, everything was just a different mind set. I stepped on to the mat, in my mind it was going to be rough for the other kid. I had so much fun, just going hard in every match. Emotions the whole year were high. I made the mistake earlier in my career just to focus on winning, and this year I wanted my senior year to be the most fun that it could. And it happened. It was very special to have my dad coaching in the corner.”

Cody’s faith has also been instrumental in accumulating 211 career victories over six years of varsity wrestling.

“Jesus is more important to me than wrestling, and God’s plan is greater than my plan. All the glory goes to Him. It’s been an amazing opportunity to see where He’s taken me and be part of that,” finished Skog who is looking at pursuing some form of ministry in his post-secondary plans.

“Cody wrestled with confidence all season. I told him last week that he was the best guy in the bracket, so the other guys had the bad draw,” said C-I Coach Neil Jennissen. “He’s such an intelligent wrestler,  and he’s always wrestled at a high level. This year, we finally had a little luck because he was sick at State last year. He didn’t need luck because he wrestled really well, but a lot of things have to go right to be a State champ.”

More Bluejacket medals

Senior Kyle Chromy closed his 41-7 season with a 3rd-place medal at 220. He began with a pin in 28 seconds over Adams of Brainerd, then he majored Owens of Rogers 9-1 in the quarters. In the semifinals, Cheney of Apple Valley used a five-point counter throw to win 9-5.

Chromy battled back with a 12-4 major over Ross of Little Falls to reach the 3rd-place match. That would have been a great Section 7AAA rematch with Blaine’s Caleb Butler, but Butler had to withdraw because of an injury.

“Kyle has been a consistent performer all the way through for us,” said Coach  Jennissen. “He wrestles a nice, fast pace for a big wrestler. He’s a talented athlete who also became pretty technical.”

Senior Travis Swanson finished his career with the 4th-place medal at 126 lbs. for the Bluejackets (above).     “He does what Travis does– he just competes. I mean, that’s the best thing about him,” said Coach Jennissen. “I don’t think we have a more gritty competitor."
Senior Travis Swanson finished his career with the 4th-place medal at 126 lbs. for the Bluejackets (above).
“He does what Travis does– he just competes. I mean, that’s the best thing about him,” said Coach Jennissen. “I don’t think we have a more gritty competitor.”

At 126, senior Travis Swanson overcame a frustrating 6-1 loss to eventual runner-up Farmah of Eastview to roll back for a 4th-place medal. In the wrestlebacks, he began with a 6-4 win over Prior Lake’s O’Neil, then he ended Htoo of Roseville’s season with a 6-2 decision.

Swanson (36-11) then shut out Matheson of Centennial 13-0 to reach the 3rd-place match Saturday afternoon. There, Venz of Farmington held for an 8-5 decision.

At 195, senior Dakota Johnson came home with a 6th-place medal, running his win total to 30 for the season. He began with a 5-1 loss to Lakeville North’s Hanson, then he stayed alive by defeating Pegelow of Eastview 3-1 to start the wrestlebacks. A 3-2 decision over Ogunti of Park Center sent Johnson into medal contention. His season finished with a 4-0 loss to eventual 3rd-place medalist Streifel of Prior Lake and a 9-4 loss in a rematch with Hanson in the 5th-place match.

Coach Jennissen: “Dakota’s fairly undersized for his weight, but it worked well for the team for him to be there. He took on the challenge, and he wrestled with a lot of heart and awareness.”

The Jackets’ last wrestler in the tourney was junior David Kent at 152. His lone match was a 5-2 loss to Herold-Plakut of Woodbury who lost his next match (ending Kent’s run) but who also went on to place 3rd.