Elk River has a competitive wrestling team this year, finishing 8-8 against a fairly strong schedule. But the Elks were overwhelmed by neighboring St. Michael-Albertville 69-0 Friday in the Section 7AAA tournament at STMA.
“We tried to take a bite out of them, but we didn’t win a match,” said coach Paul Nelson. “But they are one of the top three ranked high school teams in the country.”
The Elks best wrestler, Evan Caldon, sixth-place at state last year, lost 9-3 to Cole Sladek at 132. Kyle Ziemer at 138 had the closest match, losing 7-3.
The Knights are 30-1 and ranked first in Class 3A by The Guillotine, and third nationally by Amateur Wrestling News behind Blair Academy of New Jersey and Clovis, California. Their loss was against 10th-ranked Brandon, Florida, 33-21 in an Illinois holiday tournament.
The Elks were their second shutout; the other was Maple Grove 77-0.
The Knights lineup includes one defending state champion (Tommy Thorn) along with two state runners-up and two third-place finishers last year. The current Guillotine rankings has Knights in the top ten at 12 of the 14 weights, four of them at No. 1.
STMA went on to beat No. 9 ranked Coon Rapids 59-3 and No. 5 ranked Cambridge-Isanti 47-15 to earn a trip to state, where they will try earn an elusive state title. Apple Valley has beaten STMA in the finals the last two years.
Next for the Elks is section individuals Friday and Saturday at Anoka.