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Olhausen embraces expectations

Blake Olhausen (top) grabs a hold of the arm of Sauk Rapids’ David Nelson during their match at 138 pounds last Thursday night. Olhausen pinned Nelson in three minutes, 29 seconds and is off to a strong start to the season after adding a third-place finish at WCA on Saturday. (Eric Morken/Echo Press)

Heightened expectations haven’t been a burden to Alexandria’s Blake Olhausen so far this wrestling season.

Olhausen created those expectations by making a run to the state tournament as just a freshman. He went 28-10 last winter, accumulating 126 team points, 11 pins, 52 takedowns and 30 escapes at 120 pounds.

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That raised the bar heading into his sophomore season. So far, Olhausen has done nothing to disappoint on his way to a 3-0 record in dual meets and a fourth-place finish at 138 pounds in the Litchfield tournament on December 7.

“I had confidence, but I had high expectations for myself too,” Olhausen said after pinning his opponent from Sauk Rapids in three minutes, 29 seconds last Thursday. “I always want to get better and do better. I’m hoping that I can go back to state this year and do just as good.”

Olhausen wrestled at 120 pounds last winter and is making the adjustment of moving up a few weight classes. He weighed about 150 pounds at the start of this season but has worked his way down and been able to maintain his weight near 138 pounds.

“It’s been good,” he said of the jump in weight classes. “I’m pretty small for 138. I was certified pretty low, but I feel strong there and have a lot of energy, so I feel pretty good…over the summer, I was in the weight room the whole time and during football. That helped a lot. I feel strong.”

Olhausen looked strong in his match against the Storm’s David Nelson on Thursday night. Both wrestlers are sophomores, but Olhausen took control of the match early before putting Nelson away with the pin in the second period.

“He spent a lot of time trying to build strength and some speed and quickness in the weight room,” head coach Tom Ellison said. “It definitely shows on the mat this year. He’s a powerful athlete out there for us.”

Olhausen is one of a handful of Alexandria wrestlers whose expectations are to represent the Cardinals in the state tournament this season.

“He’s got all the tools to get there and even place,” Ellison said. “Being down there at the state last year for the first time, he lost in the first round and if the guy you lose to gets beat, you’re out. So he had a short trip, but he learned a lot. That will help him out this year.”

Olhausen matched up with junior Travis Swanson of Cambridge-Isanti in the first round last winter. He lost 6-0, but the experience of wrestling at that level has only fueled his desire to get back and put together a long run this time around.

“It really boosts your confidence,” Olhausen said. “You know you can achieve that so then you set your expectations higher so that you have to work for something more. It’s a good drive. I hope to at least win a few matches down there.”

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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