The K-W wrestling team has had more than a week to prepare for its next matches, which are set for Friday and Saturday in Bemidji as part of the Rick Lee Tournament.
Up to 15 other schools are expected to compete in the tournament, including Class A No. 7 BGMR, Bemidji, Big Lake, Brainerd, Cambridge-Isanti, Class AA No. 8 Detroit Lakes, Class A No. 6 Frazeel, Class AA No. 5 Perham, Class AA No. 11 Thief River Falls, Class A No. 11 Tracy-Milroy-Balaton and Waconia.
The Knights will head into the tournament with a 12-1 record, having swept their way to a 5-0 performance in their last tournament in Eau Claire on Dec. 28. The Knights also have key wins over Zumbrota-Mazeppa, Dover-Eyota and St. Croix Falls.
Coach Nathan Lexvold and the Knights have already defeated one ranked team (Dover-Eyota) and are looking forward to potentially facing off against several more ranked teams in Bemidji.
Several Knights could end up facing some of the top individuals in the state on Friday and Saturday. United North Central’s Ethan Hendrickson is ranked No. 1 in Class A in the 106-pound weight class, and Tracy-Milroy-Balaton’s Devin Carter is Class A’s No. 7-ranked wrestler in 106.
In Class A’s 113-pound weight class, Frazee’s Jake Nagel is ranked No. 10, while TMB’s Ayden Horner is ranked No. 4 in the 120-pound weight class.
T-M-B also has the No. 6 wrestler in the 132-pound weight class with Levi Ellingson. At 152, BGMR’s Andy Dostal is ranked No. 6, and UNC’s Eion Ness is ranked No. 10.
T-M-B also has the No. 9 wrestler, Sawyer Schwartz, in the 160-pound weight class, and the No. 3-ranked wrestler, Jace Paplow, in 170. BGMR’s Caleb Vacura is ranked No. 4 in 170, and Ottertail Central has third-ranked Zane Swanson in 182. TMB’s Trevor Eisfeld is ranked No. 4, just behind Swanson, and Frazee’s Coleton Borah is ranked No. 8 in 182.
Frazee also has third-ranked Brett Graham at 195, while BGMR has the top-ranked wrestler, Dominik Vacura, in the 220-pound weight class. Frazee’s Luke Tweeton is ranked just behind Vacura, and K-W’s own Carter Quam is ranked No. 6 at 220.
In the heavyweight class, Ottertail Central’s Cian Buehler appears to be the frontrunner, as he’s Class A’s No. 5-ranked wrestler in the class.
Some of Class AA’s top wrestlers will also be in action, including Big Lake’s Christian Noble, who’s ranked No. 2 in the 113-pound weight class, as well as Pierz’s Trevor Radunz, ranked No. 9 in the same class.
In the 120-pound weight class are Perham’s No. 4-ranked Owen Werner and Big Lake’s No. 9-ranked Cade Sixberry.
Big Lake also has No. 8-ranked Rocco Visci in 126, and the 132-pound weight class includes No. 7 Gabe Bellefeuille from Perham and No. 8 Blake Weber from Detroit Lakes. Detroit Lakes also has the No. 10-ranked wrestler, Brody Ullyott, in 138.
The 152-pound weight class will include No. 4 Jake Davis from Thief River Falls and No. 5 Jack Fudge from Perham. Thief River Falls and Perham also have individuals ranked back-to-back in the 170-pound weight class, with those wrestlers being TRF’s Cole Johnson (No. 5) and Perham’s Brian Ramos (No. 6). Blaine Henderson of Detroit Lakes is ranked No. 10 at 170.
In 182 Pierz’s Tanner Young is ranked No. 10, while Perham has the second-ranked wrestler, Dawson Kellogg, in 195.
Although K-W’s Quam is the Knights’ only ranked wrestler, the Knights are pretty well-rounded from top to bottom and are looking forward to facing off against some of the top competition in the state.