Two Minnesota wrestlers fall in Junior Greco-Roman National Championship game

Once again, there were a pair of wrestlers from the Minnesota team who competed, as Cael Swensen wrestled in the 126-pound category and Cael Carlson in 152.

In fight 126, Swensen faced Camden Russell of Nebraska. Swensen took an early lead, but ultimately failed to hold back his opponent, with Russell connecting on a big pitch to give him four runs and a possible 8-5 win.

Swensen, 16, felt he had become too defensive in the crucial moments.

“I entered the break with a 3-0 lead, then I got a little defensive and the refs called me for that,” he said. “Then he got a wrench in his very tight stomach and turned me on. At this point, I knew I had to pick up the pace and try to expose him.”

Newsletter subscription for email alerts

As time passed, the wrestler from Plymouth, Minn., Was unable to produce more points.

“I almost got it at the end, but it was a really tough game,” said Swensen, a new junior at Wayzata High School.

Despite the loss, Swensen keeps his head held high and knows he can improve.

“I think I struggled well,” Swensen said. “I made mistakes that I can easily correct.”

Swensen had only positive and somewhat surprising thoughts about spending the week in Fargo.

“I wrestled in the freestyle tournament and my weight went up so I didn’t even think I was even going to wrestle,” Swensen said. “I’m surprised and proud of myself. But it’s just a little disappointing not to win the title.”

The two-time Minnesota High State tournament qualifier loves the Fargo tournament and, with another positive result, can’t wait to come back next year.

“I think it really makes me want to compete here again next year in Greco because I have ranked here for the last three years,” said Swensen, adding that his seventh, fourth and now second place him gave the desire to want to continue to compete.

“I know I have the skills to win,” Swensen said. “It definitely makes me more motivated to fight. “

After the match, Swensen said he would take a little break and start lifting to get bigger and stronger for future competitions.

“The next big event is the Super 32 in October, so I hope to do well there,” Swensen said.

Three games later, it was the 152-pound category with Cael Carlson of Pennock, Minn., Looking to defend his Greco-Roman junior title from last year.

Against James Burks of Nebraska, Carlson struggled to start, eventually losing 11-0.

The 19-year-old remained positive after the game and did not look defeated. Carlson is a two-time Minnesota High School State Champion, winning as a senior at 145 pounds and as a junior at 138 pounds.

Coming from a wrestling family, Carlson’s father, Chad, won the state championship in 1989 and 1990, respectively, while his brother, Clay, won a state title in 2016.

Carlson, a graduate of Willmar High School, will attend the University of Minnesota in the fall.

Robert J. King