Wrestling: Elks 3rd, Thunder 7th in Elk tourney; 2 champs each

Evan Caldon had a cradle hold on Elks teammate Yong Yon Vee, who was wrestling unattached, in the 112-pound finals. Caldon didn't get the pin but won 7-2. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Elk River had a pair of first-time champions in an otherwise disappointing day as they placed third in their own Elk Invitational on Saturday.

Evan Caldon, a sophomore, and Jake Staffenhagen, a senior, each captured his first tournament title as a varsity wrestler.

Jake Staffenhagen (left) resisted a Chisago Lakes foe in the 119-pound finals. Staffenhagen won 3-0. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Meanwhile, Zimmerman also had two champions — senior Zach Stepan and sophomore Mitch Robinson — while placing seventh among 11 teams.

The Stillwater Ponies were team champion and had four individual champs.

The Elks wanted a better showing in their home gala.

“We only had two champions. We didn’t wrestle well today,” said Elk coach Paul Nelson. “We had a great first round, but in the second round, it all dropped off.”

Caldon (15-5) had two pins to reach the finals, where he went against teammate Yong Yee Vang, who was wrestling unattached. Caldon won 7-2 over his frequent sparring partner.

“We kinda know each other’s moves, so it was pretty close,” Caldon said.

Staffenhagen (14-6) had a major decision, then edged Harding’s Tar Baw 1-0 on a second-period escape, and, in the finals, tipped Chisago Lakes’ Quade Zupko 3-0 on a reversal and takedown.

Zach Stepan of Zimmerman tugged at a Brainerd opponent in the 125-pound finals, won by Stepan 9-2. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

The Elks had two runners-up. Eric Stevens was leading Osseo’s Adam Hammer 1-0 in the third period at 135 when the Oriole reversed and pinned him in 5:03. Jory Lubinski also got pinned in the 215 finals by Stillwater’s Mitch Elmer in 5:23.

Austin Halleron, Austin Stevens and Abe Williams all placed third.

Zimmerman’s Stepan has over 100 wins but had not been an Elk Invitational champ until Saturday. Stepan topped Brainerd’s Matt Solid 9-2 in the finals.

Stepan absorbed his first loss of the season Thursday, 8-6 against Kimball’s Marcus Hamer, and was still smarting a bit from that.

“I was not on top of my game, but that kid is pretty good, too,” said Stepan. “It’s not a major thing, but, I guess, I learned my lesson. I’m going for state now.”

Mitch Robinson (left) dueled Osseo's Jon Volp for the 189 title and won 8-4. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Robinson took the 189-pound title with an 8-4 win over Osseo’s Jon Volp in the finals, after pinning his first two foes.

The Elks will wrestle at Blaine on Thursday, and Zimmerman will host Rogers, also Thursday.

Team scoring

1. Stillwater 234.5

2. Brainerd 203.0

3. Elk River 167.5

4. Chisago Lakes 136.5

5. Osseo 92.0

6. Dassel-Cokato 91.0

7. Zimmerman 85.5

8.  St. Paul Harding 77.0

9. St. Paul Highland Park 33.0

10. Columbia Heights 18.0

11. Granite City Baptist 5.0

Individual champions

103 — Bryton Mutz, Brainerd

112 — Evan Caldon, Elk River

119 — Jake Staffenhagen, Elk River

125 — Zach Stephan, Zimmerman

130 — Luke Boran, Brainerd

135 — Adam Hammer, Osseo

140 — Jessen Franzen, Brainerd

145 — Mack Glasby, Brainerd

152 — Mitch Keogh, Stillwater

160 — Jack Baglio, Stillwater

171 — Travis Kammerer, Chisago Lakes

189 — Mitch Robinson, Zimmerman

215 — Mitch Elmer, Stillwater

285 — Brock Horwath, Stillwater

Eric Stevens of the Elks had the upper hand here against Osseo's Adam Hammer, but would get pinned in the final minute, in the 135 finals. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

How Elks fared

103 — Zang Vang 2-2 (2 pins), 5th place

112 — Evan Caldon 3-0 (2 pins), 1st place

112 — Yong Yee Vang 2-1 (pin, techfall), 2nd place (wrestling unattached)

119 — Jake Staffenhagen 3-0, 1st place

125 — no entry

130 — Austin Halleron 3-0 (1 techfall), 3rd place

135 — Eric Stevens 2-1 (1 pin), 2nd place

140 — Austin Stevens 3-1 (1 pin), 3rd place

145 –  no entry

152 — Corey Collins 2-2, 5th place

160 — Kevin Weeks 0-2

171 — Abe Williams 3-1 (3 pins), 3rd place

189 — Mitch Beaudry 1-3 (1 pin), 6th place

215 — Jory Lubinski 2-1 (1 pin), 2nd place

285 — Kyle Wiemann 2-2 (2 pins), 4th place

How Thunder fared

103 — Justin Viktora 0-3

112 — no entry

119 — Hunter Smith 0-2

125 — Zach Stepan 3-01(pin, techfall), 1st place

130 — Austin May 1-2 (1 pin), 5th place

135 — no entry

140 — Alex Koch 2-3 (2 pins), 6th place

145 — no entry

152 — no entry

160 — no entry

171– Jon Zdenek 1-2

189 — Mitch Robinson 3-0 (2 pins), 1st place

215 — Zach Copic 3-2 (3 pins), 5th place

285 — Albin Sterneman 0-2


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