ROCHESTER, Minn. -- The championship match of the Clash XII came down to the last bout of the evening, and it was a battle of two InterMat JJ Classic champions.
Dayton Racer edged Matthew Rundell to help propel Apple Valley over OPRF (Photo/Jeff Beshey, The Guillotine)No. 2 Oak Park River Forest, Ill., and No. 3 Apple Valley, Minn., had been dominant through three matches of preliminary bracket competition and the first two matches of the championship pool. This last dual meet was tied at 27-all headed into the last weight class. In fact, the bout at 152 pounds between No. 13 Dayton Racer (Apple Valley) and Matthew Rundell (OPRF) was tied 2-2 headed to the third period.
Racer chose the down position to start the period, scored an early reversal, and rode out Rundell to secure the Clash XII championship for his Eagles squad with a 30-27 dual meet victory. It was a fifth title for Apple Valley in twelve editions of the Clash.
The championship bout started with No. 3 at 170 Mark Hall, who weighed in down at 160 on day two of the Clash, scoring a pin against No. 19 Kamal Bey in 1:40. Oak Park River Forest responded with a pin from No. 10 Davonte Mahomes in 1:52 against Jackson Graham. Apple Valley's strategy of shifting Hall down one weight class in some ways did work as it yielded a wash in points between the two weight classes.
Another strategic gambit from Apple Valley came in the next two weights, where the Eagles flipped the Steveson brothers from the weights they had competed in the first portion of the season. Eighth grader Gable competed down at 182 pounds, where he scored a 5-3 decision over Malik Stallings; while junior Bobby -- ranked No. 14 nationally at 182 -- upended a very formidable Andre Lee 3-2 in the ultimate tiebreaker at 195 pounds. This strategy was a plus-six for Apple Valley, while their "normal" lineup would have been a net zero.
Leading 12-6, the Eagles had two swing bouts go in their favor at 220 and 285 pounds. First, at 220, it was state champion Paul Cheney upending Emonte Logan by a 3-1 decision; while at 285, Lord Joshua Hyemang scored a fall at 1:54 against Cadet National double All-American Adam Lemke-Bell. This gave Apple Valley a 21-6 lead at the turn.
The lower weight wrestlers for the Huskies showed dominance to shrink the deficit down to 21-20 with four matches remaining in the dual meet. No. 7 Jason Renteria earned the 15-7 major decision over Kyle Rathman at 106 pounds, Alex Madrigal earned an 11-3 major decision over Jalen Thul at 113, Gabe Townsell secured the 10-6 decision over Gannon Volk at 120, and Jamie Hernandez with a 7-4 decision over Zack Chytka at 126.
Apple Valley would come up with a crucial response at 132 pounds, a pin in 2:54 from junior two-time state champion Maolu Woiwor against Savonne Brunette. Consecutive wins from nationally ranked Huskies wrestlers would set up that ultimate winner-take-all bout between Racer and Rundell. No. 6 Isaiah White scored the 15-5 major decision over Brock Morgan at 138, and No. 14 Larry Early earned a 7-4 decision over No. 10 at 138 Seth Gross, as the Eagles flipped wrestlers in those weight classes.
Apple Valley Coaches (Photo/Jeff Beshey, The Guillotine)All in all, this championship dual meet showed two extremely talented and even teams doing battle. It came down to crucial gambits of strategy that Apple Valley got right, as well as the ability for the Eagles to better seize the bonus points over the dual meet.
In earlier dual meets on Saturday, Apple Valley defeated No. 6 Bergen Catholic, N.J. 38-12 (11-3 bouts) and Hastings, Minn. 56-12 (12-2); while Oak Park River Forest upended Hastings 43-13 (11-3) and No. 6 Bergen Catholic 35-25 (8-6).
Championship Pool: No. 3 Apple Valley, Minn. 3-0; No. 2 Oak Park River Forest, Ill. 2-1; No. 6 Bergen Catholic, N.J. 1-2; Hastings, Minn. 0-3
Second Pool: No. 13 Marist, Ill. 2-1; No. 32 Bettendorf, Iowa 2-1; No. 19 St. Peter's Prep, N.J. 2-1; No. 17 Bound Brook, N.J. 0-3
Third Pool: No. 48 Vacaville, Calif. 3-0; St. Michael-Albertville, Minn. 2-1; Timberland, Mo. 1-2; Prior Lake, Minn. 0-3
Fourth Pool: Hononegah, Ill. 3-0; Glenbard North, Ill. 2-1; Mediapolis, Iowa 1-2; Woodbury Central, Iowa 0-3
Fifth Pool: Skutt Catholic, Neb. 2-1; Jackson County Central, Minn. 2-1; Carl Sandburg, Ill. 2-1; Totino-Grace, Minn. 0-3
Sixth Pool: No. 41 West Fargo, N.D. 3-0; Grand Island, Neb. 2-1; Bay Port, Wis. 1-2; Kasson-Mantorville, Minn. 0-3
Seventh Pool: Parkston, S.D. 3-0; New Prague, Minn. 2-1; No. 18 Cincinnati Moeller, Ohio 1-2; Thompson, Ala. 0-3
Eighth Pool: Adrian, Minn. 3-0; Independence, Iowa 2-1; Alburnett, Iowa