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Trust The Process – Alan Koehler

By Brian Jerzak

Most repeat state champions start their varsity careers before high school. They don't all make trips to State in those first few years, but most have cracked the varsity lineup and are making noise – at least – in section tournaments. That was not the case for Prior Lake's two-time state champion Alan Koehler. It is not that he didn't have the talent; he didn't have the physical size.

Prior Lake Head Coach Joe Block and his staff struggled with how to handle their talented but undersized athlete.

"We had a few kids before Alan that came up through the middle school program that we thought could help us," Block said. "They were right around the minimum weight limit for 106, and it was hard on them. I think we did more damage to some of those kids than we did good. There is a huge jump between middle school and high school. As coaches, we thought we had something special with Alan. Let's not rush it and give him one more year to grow and get stronger."

Even when he finally met the varsity weight minimum as a freshman, Koehler didn't get the chance to compete for a state championship. He ended the season short of not only a state title but short of the state tournament.

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The Guillotine – May 12, 2022

The May 12, 2022 issue of The Guillotine has arrived! Content in this issue includes: Toughing it out as long as he can - Medford's Charley Elwood | The woman and the sprint that changed Minnesota wrestling history - Elissa Wieneke | Lace 'Em Up | Camps-Clinics-Training | MWCA Report | Girls Academic All-State | Boys Academic All-State | Where Have They Gone? - The Brand Family | Ask The Doc - Braids | Performance Nutrition - Alcohol?

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The woman and the sprint that changed Minnesota wrestling history

By Brian Jerzak

If anyone writes a book covering the history of high school wrestling in Minnesota, the driver of the Murray County Central High School wrestling van needs to be a footnote in that history. If that driver had not followed the rules of the road one November afternoon and decided to run the stop sign just outside the high school, he would have inadvertently changed the history of Minnesota high school wrestling.

"When I got to sixth grade, I had to choose between basketball and wrestling," former Fulda/Murray County Central wrestler Elissa Reinsma, now Elissa Wieneke, said. "I had a lot of friends on the basketball team that I played volleyball with. I played with them all the way through youth. "I was kind of doing basketball because I love volleyball. We had a group of girls around me – we were good at volleyball. I thought we would be successful at basketball too. They were trying to talk me into basketball. I didn't really like basketball, but they talked me into going out for basketball."

Elissa had been wrestling in the area youth program for years, but she was still going back and forth with her winter sport decision.

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Toughing it out as long as he can – Medford’s Charley Elwood

By Brian Jerzak

Medford junior Charley Elwood worked his way through the 138A bracket at the Minnesota High School wrestling tournament in March on his way to another state title. He capped the weekend off with a 15-0 tech fall in the finals. The now three-time state champion was considering not even competing in the section tournament just three weeks earlier.

"Two weeks before this year's section tournament, I considered stopping because I was in so much pain," Elwood said. "I could hardly get through practices. It was a hard decision. I love wrestling, and I wanted to win another state title, but I have to live the rest of my life. I sat down with my parents, and I decided I am going to tough it out as long as I can."

Toughing it out started as a freshman.

"I was wrestling my partner in practice. He got in on my legs and took me down. I ended up landing on my tail bone. I remember I knew something had happened. I couldn't move, but I got up and finished practice. I don't know how I finished practice. The section tournament and the state tournament were coming up. I won the section tournament pretty handily. In the state tournament, I remember I couldn't even hold my stance. I didn't have any strength. At this point, I didn't know what was wrong. I was determined to finish the season out, and then I will figure out what is wrong."

The state tournament would become a preview of what Elwood would have to go through the rest of his wrestling career.

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The Guillotine – April 14, 2022

The April 14, 2022 issue of The Guillotine has arrived! Content in this issue includes: Deciding To Be Great - Cole Konrad | Lace 'Em Up | Camps-Clinics-Training | MWCA Report | Doing It On Their Own - Dennis Whitman and Medford Wrestling | The Guillotine High School Pound-For-Pound Class Rankings | View From The Matbird Seat | Officially Speaking | First-Time Wrestler, First-Time Champion - Apple Valley’s Grace Alagbo | Where Have They Gone? Brad Huckle | Ask The Doc | Performance Nutrition - What Do You Have With Your Eggs? | Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association Awards.

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First-Time Wrestler, First-Time Champion

Apple Valley’s Grace Alagbo

By Brian Jerzak

Many first-time champions were crowned at this year's Minnesota State Wrestling Tournament. Years of wrestling practice was undoubtedly the route nearly all the wrestlers who stood on the top of the podium – or even lost in the first round – took to the Xcel Energy Center. One notable exception was girls 145-pound champion Grace Alagbo. After her first season ever, the Apple Valley sophomore ended with a gold medal hanging around her neck.

"I had never watched a wrestling match before," Alagbo admitted. "I didn't know anything about it. I didn't learn the scoring until later in the season. Once we got to some bigger tournaments, coaches would yell 'TWO,' so that is what I went with."

While she was not familiar with wrestling, she was not unfamiliar with competing in a predominantly male sport.

"I have two brothers and no sisters. I am naturally an aggressive person," said Alagbo. "I like physical contact sports. I started playing football when I was little, and I started really playing football in middle school. I wasn't going to play my freshman year, but it would be a high school experience that I wanted. I decided to join the team."

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Deciding To Be Great – Cole Konrad

By Brian Jerzak

When former Wisconsin state champion, Gophers' national champion, and MMA champion Cole Konrad started wrestling as a child, he was immediately taken by the sport. Coming up through his feeder program and during his junior high and varsity career, he was a solid, reliable wrestler. After falling short of a state title his junior year of high school, a switch flipped in Konrad's mind.

"I decided I was sick of losing, so I wasn't going to do it anymore."

Konrad decided good wasn't good enough. He decided to be great. He took more losses during his career, but they were few and far between from then on.

"I started in a youth club in my hometown," Konrad said. "It was just what we did as kids. My dad and uncle wrestled in high school; they loved the sport, which led me to get involved. That got me wanting to be around it."

Konrad found enjoyment in the sport right away.

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