Alan Koehler picked up a pair of gold medals on the international mat.
The junior on the Prior Lake wrestling team competed for Team USA in the Cadet & Junior Pan American Wrestling Championships June 9-13 in Oaxtepec, Mexico.
Koehler won all five of his matches at 51 kilograms, going 3-0 in the freestyle and 2-0 in the Greco-Roman competition.
“It was so cool winning the Pan-Am games, especially because I was able to represent my country,” Koehler said. “There was no better feeling than being able to run around the mat with the American flag. It was definitely one of those experiences that you may never get again, so I am truly grateful that I had the opportunity to represent the USA and make some lifelong memories along the way.”
In freestyle, Koehler picked up wins over wrestlers from three different countries, winning 11-0 over Ronaldo Montoya Castillo of Panama and 10-0 over both Jesse Perez Verastegui of Mexico and Pedro Toribio Torres of Peru.
In Greco-Roman, Koehler faced Verastegui and Torres again, winning 11-0 and 10-0, respectively.
Overall, Team USA took first as a team in both freestyle and Greco-Roman, going 20 for 20 in gold medal matches.
Competing for Prior Lake this past winter, Koehler had only one loss on the season, going 34-1 and winning the Class 3A state title at 106 pounds. He became the 14th wrestler in Prior Lake history to win an individual state crown.
Koehler’s only loss 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.
No Prior Lake wrestler has ever won three individual state titles, which is something Koehler can shoot for in his next two seasons.
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.
At the Pan-Am Championships, Koehler said he got some elite-level training competing for Team USA.
“While I was in Mexico City, not only did I compete but I was able to get some very high level training with some of the USA’s best wrestlers and coaches,” he said. “It was great that I was able to get some experience internationally as well. I was able to get some familiarity with some of the techniques that other countries use.
“I’m hoping this was a stepping stone for the national tournament later this summer,” he added.
What was Koehler’s goal going into the championships? Winning individually and as a team was high on the list, but he also wanted to take advantage of the coaching and competition to improve his overall skills.
“I’m happy with how the tournament went because another one of my goals was for the team to win a team title in both freestyle and Greco,” he said. “As a team, we exceeded those expectations in very dominant fashion by winning every gold medal in freestyle and Greco and walking away with two team titles.
“It was also the very first time the (USA) cadet team has ever swept the field, and I am very grateful that I was able to be apart of such a great team,” he added.