KENYON TOWNSHIP, Minn. (WCCO) — An entire community is mourning a big loss in the wrestling community as another teammate fights to survive.
Jake Baalson was killed in a car crash in Holden Township early Saturday morning. Chad Lexvold was seriously hurt.
They were with two other young people when the car went off the road and flipped several times.
Kenyon Township is a small community with a lot of heart. On Sunday, the community wrapped its arms around the two families, one mourning the loss of a son, the other holding vigil at the hospital, praying their son recovers from his injuries.
Patrick Walsh said it’s hard to pass by the intersection of County Road 30 and 50th Avenue in Holden Township without thinking about two young men who attended the high school where he is principal.
Lexvold and Baalson were in a car with two other young people when it veered off the road and into a ditch early Saturday morning.
They were less than a half a mile from Lexvold’s home.
Walsh said both were wrestlers at Kenyon-Wanamingo High School.
“The Lexvold name is synonymous with Kenyon and wrestling in the state of Minnesota,” said Walsh.
Walsh said Lexvold, who placed second at state, comes from a long line of champion wrestlers. His older brother, Nathan, is a wrestler at Augsburg. Another brother, Drew, is a two-time state champion who attends the University of Minnesota, Walsh said.
His brother, Chad, is going to school at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, he said.
“And Mitchell, the youngest brother, recently won a state championship two weeks ago,” said Walsh.
Skyler Quamme said both Baalson and Lexvold were leaders on and off the wrestling mat.
“I’ve been with them my entire life. I’ve wrestled with them, been in the classroom, hung out with them all the time,” he said.
Baalson was known for his humor.
Lexvold for his big smile and infectious laugh.
The entire community has come together twice since the accident in prayer, for Lexvold.
“We’re a small community and we’re one big team,” said Quamme.
Lexvold’s mom keeps everyone up to date on his progress on his CaringBridge site.
Well wishes are pouring in from all over the country from coaches and former wrestlers who admire and respect the Lexvold legacy.
Principal Walsh said he wants kids to remember to wear their seat belts and make good decisions.
Baalson makes the third wrestler from Kenyon-Wanamingo High to die in a car crash in seven years.