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.