Waterloo Courier Article Waterloo, Iowa
Prep wrestling's best teams set for weekend 'Clash'
By JIM NELSON, Courier Sports Writer
ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Top-ranked Waverly-Shell Rock has tested itself during the early part of its 2007-08 wrestling schedule.
Inside of Iowa's borders, the Go-Hawks have defeated arch-rival Iowa City West in a dual and snapped an 80-plus match win streak by Class 1A powerhouse Don Bosco of Gilbertville.
Friday and Saturday, Waverly-Shell Rock, along with Don Bosco, top-ranked 2A squad Ballard of Huxley and Independence will cross the border to test themselves against some of the nation's best at the 6th annual Clash, considered the national high school dual championships.
The event will take place at the University Center Rochester Fieldhouse beginning at 9 a.m. Friday.
"We're excited that we're sending our best teams from Iowa to see how we can compete," said Waverly-Shell Rock heavyweight and Iowa State recruit Eric Thompson. "I think we are going to go up there and wrestle well, all of us Iowa teams."
Waverly-Shell Rock, ranked fifth nationally by Amateur Wrestling News, is one of four top 10 teams in the field.
Minnesota powerhouse Apple Valley is the highest-ranked squad at fourth, while Montini Catholic of Lombard, Ill., is seventh and Glenbard North of Illinois is ranked ninth.
"We are looking forward to this challenge," said Go-Hawks head coach Rick Caldwell. "I would hope we are ready. We should be used to wrestling tough teams in dual situations ... understanding bonus points are huge, that we have to get them and have to avoid them ... that it takes 14 guys to win.
"You can't win a dual meet with four or five guys. I think we are prepared. We definitely will know a whole lot more about our team in three or four days."
With three Division I recruits and eight wrestlers who are currently 14-0 or 13-1, the Go-Hawks are one of the more impressive dual meet teams to come out of Northeast Iowa in a long time.
The worst record of any of WSR's regulars is 8-5, and 12 of the 14 have won 10 or more matches.
"Going up there, our goal is to win it," said Iowa recruit Mark Ballweg. "At the same time, we know every match of every dual is going to be hard-fought, and nothing will be easy."
"We want to wrestle the best we can, with no letdowns and maximum effort, and if we do that we should have good results," added Thompson.
Waverly-Shell Rock opens with 1A Minnesota school Goodhue during the afternoon session beginning at 4 p.m. The Go-Hawks' top competition in their pool should come from a pair of top-ranked schools -- Wagner, No. 1 in Class B in South Dakota, and top-ranked Division I Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln.
Each team will wrestle three matches in their pool with the pool champion advancing to the championship bracket with the other three pool winners. Every team in the tournament is guaranteed six duals.
Don Bosco head coach Tom Kettman is excited about attending the tournament on various levels.
"I'm excited about the Iowa teams that are going, and hopefully all of us can get some Ws," said Kettman. "I'm also looking forward to being able to see all these teams from different parts of the country.
"One of my assistant coaches and I were talking about the team from Hawaii, and their first item of business is probably to buy winter coats.
"I think that is the neat thing for our kids - to get to see and meet some of these wrestlers."
Don Bosco opens the tournament at 9 a.m. against Kasson-Mantorville (Minn), a Class 2A school. The Dons are in the same bracket as Montini Catholic and Wasatch of Heber City, Utah, the school that produced Cael Sanderson.
Independence is in the same pool as Waverly-Shell Rock and opens the tournament at 4 p.m. against Hastings, Minn.
This is the first time in several years Iowa schools have been able to compete in The Clash. It had previously been held over the Christmas break the last few years.
Union of La Porte City, Osage and Waterloo West participated in the tournament in 2004.
"Hopefully, we will make the Iowa wrestling fans proud," said Caldwell. "We want to go up there and represent Iowa well."
Contact Jim Nelson at (319) 291-1521 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Breaking down 'The Clash'
Thirty-two high school wrestling teams from across the United States, including four from Iowa, will converge at the University Center Rochester Fieldhouse for the 6th Annual Clash (National High School Dual Tournament) Friday and Saturday.
All three of the current top-ranked squads in Iowa - Waverly-Shell Rock (3A), Ballard of Huxley (2A) and Don Bosco of Gilbertville (1A) - along with Independence (2A) are scheduled to compete.
Don Bosco vs. Kasson-Mantorville (Minn), 9 a.m., Mat 8.
(Don Bosco will also wrestle at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.)
Ballard (Huxley) vs. Kenyon-Wanamingo (Minn.), 4 p.m., Mat 4.
(Ballard will also wrestle at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.)
Waverly-Shell Rock vs. Goodhue (Minn), 4 p.m., Mat 6.
(WSR will also wrestle at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.)
Independence vs. Hastings (Minn), 4 p.m., Mat 7.
(Independence will also wrestle at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.)
Morning session pools
Glenbard North (Ill.), Punahou School (HI), Simley (Minn.), Blue Springs (Mo.), Ponderosa (Colo), Carl Harrison (Ga.), Wrightstown (Wis.), Jackson County Central (Minn.)
Montini Catholic (Ill.), Chaparral (Colo), Anoka (Minn.), Wastach (Heber City, Utah), Wheaton North (Ill.), Scott West (Minn.), Kasson-Mantorville (Minn., Don Bosco.
Afternoon session pools
Apple Valley (Minn.), Canton (S.D.), Plainview-Elgin-Millville (Minn), Vacaville (Calif.), Ballard, Kenyon-Wanamingo (Minn.), Creighton Prep (Omaha, Neb.), Kaukauna (Wis.).
Waverly-Shell Rock, Goodhue (Minn.), Wagner (S.D.), Albert Lea (Minn.), Hastings (Minn.), Independence, Plainfield Central (Ill.), Wisconsin Rapids (Wis.).