Six Wayzata wrestlers enjoyed success as they traveled throughout the country this summer and two of them, brothers Cael and Logan Swensen won national runner-up honors.
Touring the USA was fun and competitive for the Swensen brothers, who were joined on the national circuit by Adam Cherne, Cayden Homme, Cal Lonnquist and Kyler Wong. Wayzata varsity wrestling coach Eric Swensen was able to watch his boys compete in national meets and came away very impressed with their progress.
The Trojans have already won three consecutive Lake Conference titles, and they hope to build upon that success in the coming years.
“We had a very good summer,” coach Swensen said. “The boys wrestled in Greco, freestyle and folkstyle meets.”
Cael Swensen, who finished fourth in his weight class last winter at the Minnesota State Class AAA Tournament, competed against high school juniors and seniors and even some graduates in the 18-and-Under Greco Junior Nationals at the Fargo Dome in Fargo, North Dakota. Since he has already wrestled at state in front of crowds of 10,000 or more, the crowds in Fargo didn’t affect him.
“It was a lot of fun,” Cael said. “I liked that I was able to stay composed. In my first match of the tournament, I was down 5-0 before I came back to win 11-7. I opened up as the tournament went on and focused on turning my opponents when I was on top.”
Cael battled through a field of 128 competitors in the 126-pound class.
“I got to wrestle twice on the elevated mat,” he noted.
Logan Swensen, who will be a seventh-grader this fall, has not wrestled on varsity yet, but that day could come soon.
The 13-year-old reached the finals in a 64-man bracket for 77-pounders in the Schoolboy Nationals, which were held across the border at Wisconsin Dells.
“The gym was very hot, and it was very tiring,” Logan said.
There were 26 mats in the facility, with competition in progress almost non-stop.
“Logan lost a close match in the finals,” his father said.
“It was my first national meet for Greco,” Logan said. “I was able to gut-wrench some people.”
What advice did Logan get from Cael?
“He told me to keep my head up and stay in good position,” Logan said.
“Wrestling is one of the sports in which you go to nationals and see people from a lot of different states,” coach Swensen said. “Logan wrestled against kids from Tennessee, Florida, New Jersey, Iowa, Oregon and Oklahoma. That’s one of the fun things about this experience.”
Following are summer updates on the other Wayzata wrestlers.
Wayzata’s other 126-pound wrestler finished 2-2 in the Cadet Nationals in Fargo.
“I hope to place at state this year,” said Cherne, who wrestled varsity last season. “In [high school] practice, I wrestle with Cael and Kyler [Wong]. Cael gets really aggressive against me, so I get aggressive against him.”
Before he returns to the wrestling mat, Cherne plans to play football this fall.
A state qualifier in the 160-pound weight class last winter, Homme has made big strides during the off-season.
He wrestled in the Cadet Duals in Spokane, Washington and represented Minnesota in a States vs. States tournament.
“Cayden had a really good summer in Greco,” coach Swensen said.
“In addition to keeping me in shape, summer wrestling gives me a chance to work on my technique,” Homme said. “My goal for the high school season is to place high at state, preferably in the top four.”
The highlights of the 2018-19 high school season for Homme were winning the section title, going to state and beating a ranked opponent from Lakeville South.
Lonnquist had a 43-win season, with 30 pins, on varsity last season, and he hopes to build on that this winter.
He won the state freestyle championship this summer and went on to earn national places. He took third in the Northern Plains Tournament and went on to secure eighth place in Greco Nationals. In the Schoolboy Duals, a team tournament, he posted a 14-2 record. In Virginia, his team won the National Folkstyle Duals.
Unfortunately, Lonnquist dislocated a rib in Greco Nationals and had to withdraw late in the tournament.
“Our high school team will be better than we have been this year,” Lonnquist said. “Working with coach Swensen [for the last five years], I am way better than I would have been otherwise.”
Wong’s improvement was apparent this summer, based on the places in won in Schoolboy Nationals, where he took third place in freestyle and fourth place in Greco. He also captured a state freestyle championship.
Wong commented on the intense heat in the gym in Wisconsin Dells.
“I was dripping with sweat after every match,” he said.
Wong said his goal for the high school season is simply “to win most of my matches.”
“We are lucky to have coach Swensen,” Wong said. “For a long time, I didn’t know that he had coached a team to the state championship in Florida before coming to Wayzata.”
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