VERNDALE -- When Jake Elgin wrestles it's not a matter of if but when he will pin his opponent.
Elgin wrestles at 189 pounds for the Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale Raiders and this season he's sporting a 13-0 record. The amazing thing isn't that he's undefeated. It's the fact he's pinned all his opponents.
Last Thursday, Elgin pinned Phil Mongan of Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus for the second time this season at the 1:39 mark.
Against Menahga-Sebeka, Elgin pinned his opponent in just 24 seconds.
You can't say Elgin, who was ranked sixth in the Class A preseason poll, hasn't wrestled anybody of his caliber. He pinned Tom Britz of Pierz who was ranked just behind Elgin early in December.
"I think the reason for his success is he has a lot of experience," Raiders head coach Steve Techam said. "He won the section title as a sophomore and last year as a junior."
"When I go into a match I'm thinking, 'Go for the win and then go for the pin' when my opponent wears down," Elgin said. "I try to outsmart my opponent. I figure out what they're going to do and I beat them to it."
Last year Elgin won the Section 7A title at 171 pounds. Even though he went up a weight class this year he's still enjoying the same success that took him to the state tournament last year.
"Moving up a weight class hasn't been a benefit and it hasn't been a problem," Elgin said. "I don't have to lose any weight or gain any weight so that's a plus."
"The reason he switched weight classes is because he grew and now he weighs 180 pounds," Techam said. "He's really too small for 189 but he doesn't want to cut weight so he's kind of right in the middle.
"The reason he can handle the weight difference is because he is extremely aggressive. He's got a build to him with long arms and big hands. He goes aggressively for the pin.
"He always tries to pin. The school record is 17 in a row, set by Joe Pilgrim in 1979, so he only needs four more to tie that," Techam added.
"I want to place in the top four at state," said Elgin, "and hopefully go undefeated for the remainder of the season. I would like to break the record. That would be nice."
B-H-V was ranked 11th in the preseason polls. A lot of that had to do with Elgin, who has been a part of the Raiders for three years after moving from Wisconsin.
Although he doesn't want to overlook his senior year Elgin does have plans for next year. He has a 3.0 grade-point average and wants to attend a community college. He hasn't decided where to attend but he hopes to play football.
"He could wrestle at the next level no problem but his educational goals are going to take him someplace where they either don't have wrestling or it won't be a good program," Techam said.
Other notable performances:
Basketball -- Aitkin's Brandon Siemers scored 28 points and led the Gobblers in rebounds in a win over Hinckley-Finlayson.
Staples-Motley's Dustin Hjelmeland scored 25 points in a win over Detroit Lakes.
Charlie Speed of Wadena-Deer Creek scored 26 points to help the Wolverines to a win.
Dan Goeritz scored 22 for Pillager in a win over Cass Lake-Bena.
Wrestling -- Jared Oyster and Nate Bertram of Bertha-Hewitt/Verndale are both 13-0.
Ben Keen of the Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus Road Crew pinned Reggie Rach of B-H-V at the 5:03 mark. Both went to state last year.
Peter Hayes of Wadena-Deer Creek defeated Russell Aho of Menahga-Sebeka to spark a Wolverines win last Thursday. Hayes improved to 10-0.
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