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Hastings wrestling takes 20th at The Clash XVI

Sophomore Sam Valentine, wrestling way out of his weight class at heavyweight, got the win in one of his first varsity matches. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Godswill Pepple won the first match for Hastings in their duel against Owatonna at 220 pounds. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

The Hastings Raiders wrestling team competed in The Clash XVI held at Rochester Community and Technical College. The Clash is considered one of the best, if not the best, dual tournament in the nation, featuring the best teams in Minnesota, across the Midwest and nationally ranked teams from across the country.

The Raiders took 20th after going 2-1 on the first day and 0-3 on the second day.

On Day 1, teams compete in a predetermined, seeded bracket. Depending how you do in those three duals determines the bracket you wrestle in on Day 2.

Hastings fell to Washington, Ill., in the opening round 46-24, but then won the next two duals against Commerce, Ga., and Rochester Mayo 39-28 and 42-29 respectively. The Raiders took fifth so the next day they were placed in a bracket with the rest of the fifth-place teams.

Hastings went 0-3 on Day 2 and was down three of the regular 14 starting wrestlers in Drake Guck and the Kendall brothers Paul and John. They lost to Wisconsin powerhouse Kaukauna 54-15, Post Falls, Idaho, 41-24 and Owatonna—who they beat in the quarterfinals at state last winter—41-20.

"We were seeded seventh in our bracket and we ended up in fifth, so we out-wrestled our seed," head coach Josh McLay said. "That's our main goal for this tournament: to get our team to place above our seed, because if we're doing that we're doing something right as (the organizers) do a fairly accurate job of seeding this tournament."

Overall, McLay said he was pleased with how his team wrestled the opening day. "Some kids lost some matches that they could have turned around, but I thought they battled super hard and left it all out on the mat."

On Day 2, McLay said it was a grind as many of his wrestlers were banged up due to the extreme level of competition.

"The reality is, wrestling all this tough competition back to back, you have to have some tough kids to be able to do six matches against top-caliber teams," he said. "We took our lumps and the kids battled through it. They kept fighting through and that's what I really appreciated."

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a RiverTown Multimedia sports reporter covering Hastings, Farmington and Rosemount athletics. He graduated from Drake University with a journalism degree in 2014. 

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