Welcome to Day 4 of WIN Magazine’s countdown to the 2023 Final...
H.S. Wrestling: Apple Valley moves one step closer to National Title with Clash Duals Championship
Apple Valley staked its claim as the top high school team in the nation over the weekend by winning The Clash National Duals, considered the nation’s toughest dual meet tournament. The Eagles, ranked No.1 in the nation by WIN Magazine (WIN Magazine High School Rankings), defeated No. 4 Brandon (Fla) 34-16 in the championship match. The Eagles went 6-0 in dual meet action and in addition to defeating Russ Cozart’s Brandon team, also defeated powerful Simley High of Inver Grove Heights, MN, ranked No. 11, 42-20, and Carl Sandburg (Illinois) 55-9, in the championship bracket.
It was the third consecutive Clash championship for Jim Jackson’s Eagles, who have also won the Minnesota Christmas Tournament and the Cheesehead Invitational this season.
Apple Valley has steamrolled through the competition this year and appears on track to win another national title. The Eagles must win the Minnesota state high school championship to be considered the top team in the nation, but there doesn’t appear to be a team in Minnesota that can contend with the Eagles. Simley, which finished third in The Clash, is the Eagles’ toughest challenger in state, but they are in Class 2A, while the Eagles are in 3A. And even the best Simley performance would make it tough to beat the depth of Apple Valley, as the Eagles proved Saturday.
St. Paris Graham of Ohio, the nation’s No. 2-ranked team, was not able to compete at The Clash because of state high school league-imposed travel regulations. But if there is any doubt as to if the Eagles are the best team in the nation, wrestling journalist Ben Pherson of the Rochester Post-Bulletin summed it up when he wrote:
“Despite all the records, Saturday’s Clash victory might be the most significant. Why? Because the Eagles cruised against the deepest and best Clash field ever. Half of the nation’s top 10 teams were in the building Friday and Saturday. And not one of those ranked foes truly pushed the Eagles, who became the first team to win four Clash titles.”
However, Apple Valley wrestlers aren’t taking things for granted.
“Two steps are done by winning the Cheesehead and Clash,” Jake Waste, a University of Buffalo recruit who is ranked No. 2 in the nation by WIN Magazine, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Destin McCauley, the nation’s top recruit who has signed with Wisconsin, echoed the same sentiments:
“We can’t let this go to our heads,” he said, also in the Pioneer Press. “We’ll be back in the practice room on Monday to get ready to take care of the rest of the season.”
McCauley took care of business over the weekend, winning all six matches to break the Minnesota record for career wins with 263. The previous record of 262 was set by Travis Rutt of Jackson County Central in 2008. Rutt now wrestles at Wisconsin, where McCauley committed to earlier this fall. McCauley now has a career record of 263-7.
– Matt Krumrie