The high school wrestling season looks to be delayed, but not the preseason rankings.
The Guillotine released its first team and individual rankings for all three classes Nov. 11, and three Prior Lake wrestlers were in the top 10 at three different weights.
Sophomore Alan Koehler will open the season ranked No. 2 in the state in Class 3A at 106 pounds. Senior Teagan Block is ranked No. 7 at 126, while senior Cam Miller is No. 7 at 220.
As a team, Prior Lake was not in the top 12, but it did receive votes in the poll. Stillwater is ranked No. 1, one spot ahead of Shakopee, the two-time defending state champions.
St. Michael-Albertville is No. 3, followed by Wayzata, Forest Lake, Owatonna, Waconia, Bemidji, Anoka, Coon Rapids, Northfield and Farmington.
Gov. Tim Walz is expected to shut down youth and high school sports for four weeks starting Nov. 21. The Minnesota State High School League’s Board of Directors will also meet Dec. 3 to decide how the winter sports season will be structured once it’s allowed to begin.
Wrestling was scheduled to start Nov. 30 with the first competition date Dec. 10.
There were no state tournaments for fall sports teams and now it’s uncertain whether there will be state competitions for winter activities.
Last season, Prior Lake had two wrestlers competing in the Class 3A individual state tournament and one is back, Miller, who was making his first-career appearance.
Miller lost his only match at state last year and finished the season with a 19-18 overall record.
Meanwhile, both Koehler and Block finished third in the Section 2AAA tournament at 106 and 120 pounds, respectively. The top-two individuals qualify.
Koehler finished last season with 27 wins, while Block had 26. Both will be seeking their first trips to state this winter.
Section 2AAA is considered the toughest in the state with the likes of Shakopee in the field, along with strong programs like New Prague, Apple Valley, Lakeville North, Lakeville South and Eastview.
Going into sections last year, there were 26 wrestlers from Section 2AAA ranked among the 14 weight classes. Prior Lake had 11 wrestlers place at sections (top six) but only two got through to state.
In this year’s preseason rankings, 17 wrestlers from the section are ranked. Shakopee and New Prague lead the way with five each followed by the Lakers with three, Lakeville North with two and Apple Valley and Eastview with one.
There are four wrestlers from the section ranked No. 1 with New Prague having two of them and Shakopee and Lakeville North both with one.
Team-wise, Shakopee is the only team ranked in the section. Like Prior Lake, New Prague also received votes in the poll.
Prior Lake lost in the section semifinals to New Prague last year, finishing the season with a 10-6 dual-meet record (7-2 in the South Suburban Conference).
Prior Lake won the Section 2AAA title five straight years from 2011 to 2015. The Lakers also have had 13 wrestlers win individual state titles with the last one coming in 2019 when Calvin Sund claimed the 195-title.
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) and Kenny O’Neil in 2017 (160).