This past weekend the Knights traveled down to La Crosse to compete in one of the toughest dual meet tournaments in the nation, The Clash: National Wrestling Duals, Jan. 7 and 8.
Teams are broken into four brackets of eight teams. Each place (1-8) in the day one competition, faces off in a round robin bracket on day two to determine overall placing. STMA had been given the #3 seed overall, #1 seed in their first day bracket.
In the opening round, the Knights had a ‘bye’ as a team was unable to compete last minute. In the second round, the Knights faced off against Hersey High School in Illinois. STMA defeated the #18 (IL, AAA) by a score of 61-9.
This advanced the Knights to the championship in their day one bracket. The Knights went on to compete against Anoka (#5, AAA). The Knights won 52-15 against the Tornadoes. Caleb Thoennes defeated the #3 ranked wrestler by a decision. Cole Becker defeated the #3 ranked wrestler in sudden victory in a rematch from last year’s state finals.
The Knights finished in first place after day one, then went on to compete against the other three winners, from day one, in the day two round robin. The winner of the day two round robin, wins the championship.
The Knights began day two against Jackson County Central (#1, A) 45-18. Jed Wester defeated a returning class A state champion en route over the Huskies. In the second round of day two, the Knights competed against Waverly-Shell Rock, Iowa. The Go-Hawks are ranked #1 (AAA) in Iowa and #19 nationally. The Knights competed hard in a back and forth dual.
The dual opened up against the #1 wrestler in the nation against Jed Wester, who lost a close 6-1 decision. Jake Springer came through with a big fall at 182lbs, Jimmy Heil sealed the victory with a fall at 152lbs. Also earning wins by bonus point included Landon Robideau and Thoennes. The Knights won 34-23 over the Go-Hawks.
In the final round and championship match, the Knights competed against the Bulldogs from Vacaville, California. STMA dropped the first three matches before Myles Dehmer earned a fall to put the Knights on the board. Teammate Owen Barthel won his match to close the gap. Robideau and Thoennes continued to close the gap by earning bonus point victories against the Bulldogs.
Becker won a tough decision at 145lbs, Jimmy Heil scored a fall in the second to last match to put the Knights ahead by one in the team score. The dual came down to the final match with Wester for the Knights. Wester won a major decision to push the Knights to a 35-30 victory and a championship at The Clash.
STMA went 5-0 as a team and won the tournament for the first time since 2013. It is the second time in program history the Knights won the Clash. Robideau, Thoennes, and Jimmy Heil were selected to the all-tournament team. Becker and Eli Davis were selected for the Clash Scholar Athlete award.
Next up, the Knights will host Buffalo Thursday, Jan. 13, at 5 p.m., Eden Prairie Friday, Jan. 14, at 5 p.m. at home, before traveling down to Stillwater for the Stampede duals where they will face off against (#4AAA) Stillwater, Lakeville North, and (#2AAA) Waconia Saturday, Jan. 15.