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By Rob Sherrill
Fans expected Apple Valley High and newcomer Brandon (Fla.) High to be the two teams standing at the end of The Clash National Duals in Rochester, Minn. earlier this month.
And both teams delivered.
Though The Clash was a team event, there were plenty of individual subplots, too. Two weight classes, 125 and heavyweight, were particularly stacked. At 125, Bracket A alone contained three ranked wrestlers: Apple Valley’s Dakota Trom, Omaha (Neb. ) Skutt Catholic High’s Thomas Gilman and Forest Lake High’s Ben Morgan.
So did Bracket D at heavyweight, including two wrestlers named to last year’s All-Tournament Team: Cody Krumwiede of Waverly (Iowa) W. Shell Rock High and Evan Knutson of Wausau (Wis.) West High, who were selected at 215 and heavyweight, respectively, along with St. Michael-Albertville High’s Parker Betts.
The Outstanding Wrestler at The Clash? My vote goes to Wisconsin Rapids (Wis.) Lincoln High junior Devin Peterson, who had four first-period falls, a technical fall and an 11-3 major decision.
Here’s a look at the All-Tournament Team, with some other weight-class highlights.
103 – Jon Marmolejo, Carol Stream (Ill.) Glenbard North High: The freshman finished only seventh in the Al Dvorak Memorial Invitational at Machesney Park (Ill.) High in December, but breezed through his competition with three pins, a technical fall, a major decision and a 4-2 overtime decision over fellow Chicago westsider Tommy Pawelski of Lombard Montini High. Simley’s Kyle Gliva also was impressive in going 6-0 with two technical falls, two major decisions and two decisions, including a 4-2 win over Apple Valley’s Seth Gross.
112 – Juan Torres, Inver Grove Heights (Minn.) Simley High: The sophomore, third in state last year, got the nod with a 6-0 record that included two pins, two technical falls and a major decision. Apple Valley’s Jordan Kingsley and Glenbard North’s John Gosinski went 5-0.
119 – Eric DeVos, Waverly (Iowa) W. Shell Rock High: The junior three-time state champion had three major decisions in his first five matches and a 4-1 victory over Glenbard North’s Bryan Gonzalez, unbeaten the rest of the way. His final match was a pin over Montini state champion KeVon Powell, up a weight to challenge him.
125 – Kevin Norstrem, Brandon (Fla.) High: The first of the Eagles’ junior middle-weight Murderers Row, Norstrem earned All-Tournament honors in his final match, a 6-4 victory over two-time Apple Valley state champion Dakota Trom, who had pinned his first five opponents. For his part, Norstrem, a two-time state champion himself, put up sixes his first four rounds — via three pins and a win by forfeit — then an 8-1 decision and his win over Trom.
Gilman beat Morgan, 6-3, to complete Bracket A first-round action. Gilman, who weighed in at 119 the second day, also finished 6-0 with two pins and two technical falls. Chicago (Ill.) Mount Carmel High junior Mike Mizaur was 5-0 with three pins, one against Colorado state champion Courtland Hacker of Broomfield High.
130 – Rossi Bruno, Brandon: The three-time state champion had two pins, a technical fall and a major decision, but his two decisions were the most impressive: a 3-1 decision over Illinois champion Joe Gosinski of Glenbard North the first day, then a 5-3 decision over Apple Valley seventh-grader Mark Hall in a battle of 5-0 wrestlers. Hall rolled into the match with three pins and two major decisions.
135 – Tyler Liberatore, Brandon: The double Junior National champion raced out of the gate with two pins and two technical falls. He then ground out decisions of 3-2 over sophomore state place-winner Colin Holler of Carl Sandburg and 7-3 over two-time Minnesota champion Jake Kelliher of Apple Valley. Holler edged Kelliher, 6-5, for his second upset over an Apple Valley star in as many years, after beating Trom last year.
140 – Brandon Kingsley, Apple Valley (Minn.) High: The junior two-time state champion matched Trom by pinning five of his six opponents. Unlike Trom, Kingsley completed a 6-0 sweep by shutting out fellow state champion Jake Short of Simley, giving him two wins in three meetings against Short this season.
145 – Jake Sueflohn, Hartland (Wis.) Arrowhead High: The Nebraska signee wrestled three matches at 140 and three at 145. He failed to earn bonus points only in an 11-6 victory over Tyler Argue of Chicago Mount Carmel in the third round. The rest of his 6-0 log featured two pins and three major decisions.
152 – Destin McCauley, Apple Valley: The Olympic Training Center/Wisconsin-signee wound up being the only repeat All-Tournament Team selection. He opened with four falls — the second straight year he had that many — before finishing with a major decision and an 8-5 victory over Brandon junior Clark Glass, who also rolled into that match with a 5-0 record. Seth Thomas of Roseburg (Ore.) High, the All-Tournament selection at 145 last year, again went 6-0 with a pin, two technical falls and a major decision.
160 – Steven Keogh, Apple Valley: The senior opened with a pair of pins and finished with four decisions. After turning back Simley’s Micah Barnes 4-2 in overtime in the fifth round, Keogh faced Brandon Wally Figaro — a wrestler he beat twice over the summer — and prevailed again, scoring a 1-0 victory.
171 – Travis Mallo, Mason City (Iowa) High: The senior, fourth in state last year, caught fire after a 3-1 victory to open the tournament. Mallo added a pin, two technical falls and two major decisions to finish 6-0. Apple Valley’s Jake Waste, the All-Tournament selection a year ago, also went 6-0 with two pins — one of them at 189 — along with a technical fall and three decisions.
189 – Devin Peterson, Wisconsin Rapids (Wis.) Lincoln High: Peterson barely broke a sweat in the Red Raiders’ first four rounds with four sub-minute pins, spending just 1 minute, 58 seconds on the mat over that span. A technical fall and a major decision capped his 6-0 run.
215 – Nick Edling, Albertville (Minn.) St. Michael-Albertville High: The junior, in his first year as a varsity starter, has fit right into the Knights’ tough group of upper weights. He pinned his first two opponents and had three overall as part of a 6-0 record.
HWT – Chris Lopez, Orland Park (Ill.) Carl Sandburg High: The senior, a Junior National freestyle finalist, navigated his way through a tough weight with two pins, a tech fall and three tight decisions.
Meanwhile, in Bracket D, Krumwiede faced Knutson in the first round — winning 2-1 in overtime — and Betts in the second, losing 3-2 in overtime. He then went on to record three pins and a 1-0 decision over Brodie Berrie of Bettendorf High in a battle of Iowa’s 3A upper-weight state champions a year ago. Berrie and Betts also went 5-1, with Vacaville (Calif.) High’s John Schupp upsetting Betts 8-6 in overtime in the fifth round. Schupp’s only loss came against another highly-regarded big man, Wisconsin Rapids’ Curt Fuller. Fuller’s losses: 3-0 to Lopez and 4-3 to Betts in overtime. n