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Koehler Pins Down State Title For PL Wrestling

03/27/2021, 6:15pm CDT
By Tom Schardin

Alan Koehler made his first appearance in the Class 3A state individual wrestling tournament count.

The ninth-grader became the 14th wrestler in Prior Lake history to win a title, claiming the 106-pound crown March 24 at St. Michael-Albertville High School.

Koehler finished the season with a 34-1 record, earning a 3-1 victory over Logan Swenson of Wayzata in the title match. Koehler won the match by ultimate tiebreaker.

The two wrestlers were ranked No. 1 and 2, respectively in the last rankings before postseason by The Guillotine.

"Alan did a fantastic job handling himself at the state tournament," Lakers coach Joe Block said. "He has grown a lot this year in how he handles himself through adversity. He never got down on himself when things got tough in his finals match.

"He stayed the course and pulled out a tight match," Block added. "I'm super happy for him. He has worked really hard through the offseason and in this season to get better."

Koehler earned a 13-2 major decision over Parker Lyden of Forest Lake in the quarterfinals and won by technical fall (16-1) in the semifinals over third-ranked Dylan Dauffenback of Stillwater.

Koehler's only loss this season was 7-0 to senior Blake West of Shakopee at 113 pounds during a South Suburban Conference dual. West won his second straight state title at that weight with a perfect 31-0 record.

Jake Kahnke and Alex Hart are the only two Lakers to win two state titles. Kahnke won the 189 title in 2006 and the heavyweight crown in 2007. Hart was the 220-pound winner in 2014 and won at heavyweight in 2015.

Other Prior Lake state champions include: Brad Thompson in 1969 (98 pounds), Bill Sauter in 1974 (125), Bruce Johnson in 1975 (145), Bill Craven in 1975 (140), Chad LeMair in 1986 (112), Cory Forar in 1997 (189), Ryan LeBeau in 1999 (130), Calvin Wolff in 2007 (135), Luis Pinto in 2014 (heavyweight), Kenny O'Neil in 2017 (160) and Calvin Sund in 2019 (195).

Sund's younger brother Colton joined Kohler in the state quarterfinals. The senior, ranked No. 7, competed at 160 pounds, but lost both of his matches.

Sund fell 8-1 to Adam Cherne of Wayzata in the first round and lost 8-6 to Elijah Madimba of Coon Rapids in the consolation semifinals. Sund was making his first state appearance and finished the season with a 27-7 record.

"I'm extremely proud of Colton as well; he had a great senior season," Block said. "Unfortunately, the season didn’t end the way he wanted to but he can hold his head high for his accomplishments."

It was a tough season for all wrestling teams in the state dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The season started late and teams were only allowed to wrestle duals and not invitationals.

The Lakers finished the season with a 16-11 record, including 8-1 in the SSC. Top-ranked Shakopee won the league crown with a 9-0 mark en route to its third straight Class 3A state team title.

"The boys handled the ups and downs of the season really well," Block said. "I feel like they were super appreciative that we got to have a full season complete with a postseason. They did a great job of following protocols and we saw a lot of growth throughout the year.

"I feel like as a team we got better as the season went on, injuries towards the end of the season didn’t help, but we had a lot of individuals show a ton of growth," Block added.

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