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Cloquet-Esko Seniors Compete In Final Home Match

Wes Vork-NSO

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Feb 1

By: Greg Oakes

CLOQUET – Three seniors wrestled their last home match for Cloquet -Esko on Tuesday night when the Lumberjacks hosted the Jaguars of Hinckley-Finlayson. Tahkoa Smith, Marcus Hunt and Jake Baker gave it their all before the home crowd and unfortunately, only team captain Baker came away victorious. Overall, the Jacks fell to the Jaguars 55-17.

The Jacks young wrestlers struggled all night and they could not overcome having to give up 30 points in forfeits to Hinckley-Finlayson. There were a couple of bright spots for the Jacks. Sophomore Kristina Erickson made Lumberjack history when she became the first Cloquet-Esko female wrestler to ever wrestle another female wrestler in a Varsity match. Erickson, who is sometimes physically overmatched versus stronger male wrestlers, relished the opportunity to battle another female. She didn’t disappoint as she used a variety of moves before cradling her opponent onto her back for a first period pin.

The other anticipated match was when Baker put his team best 13-4 record on the line at 171 pounds. It was a mismatch from the start as Baker showed a flurry of moves and earned a technical fall with a 17-0 victory. After the match Baker spoke of his win by saying he had everything working tonight. “I started off with a single leg takedown and then used my cross body and legs to keep him down on the mat. In the second period, I used a fireman’s carry to put him on his back and get some points. Later in the third period, I was able to get two points for a reversal as I used my switch move. Overall, I was really pleased. I wanted to pin him but he was really tough bridging on his neck for so long.”

Baker is Cloquet’s top candidate to make a trip to the State tournament but he knows it will not come easily. To earn the trip he must finish in the top two of the Section in his weight class. Last season he finished fourth. Blocking his way this year is a grappler from Chisago Lakes, who is ranked #5 in the State, and a very tough wrestler from Milaca.

Interesting enough, Cloquet-Esko’s next match is this Thursday in a triangular match versus Chisago Lakes and Milaca. Baker will get a close up look at the competition. He is looking forward to going up against both opponents. “I like to know what my opponent is like so that I can prepare moves to beat them. I just need to keep practicing hard.”

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