Published Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 10:29 pm / Updated at 10:32 pm
wrestling
Prep heavyweights ready for country’s best, each other

The top teams in Nebraska’s two biggest classes will be under one roof in Rochester, Minn., this weekend.

And they could potentially square off.

Five-time defending Class A champion Grand Island and Omaha Skutt, Class B’s top-ranked team, will both head north to take part in The Clash, a dual tournament that attracts some of the country’s top teams.

Both are seeded fifth and would face each other Saturday if they finish in the same position in their respective eight-team bracket after Friday’s action. It will be Grand Island’s third trip to The Clash, an annual stop on the season circuit for the SkyHawks.

They have a combined 20 ranked wrestlers, with each having a pair of No. 1’s in recently released rankings.

Grand Island coach Mike Schadwinkel said the teams have gotten to know each other through summer meetings, a pre-Husker dual two seasons ago and three days each year in February at the state tournament.

“Every time we seem to run into each other they’ve been very good, competitive duals,” Schadwinkel said. “We’ve become a lot more familiar with each other the last couple years.”

His team’s run of five championships in a row is one of Class A’s longest. It’s still less than half of Skutt’s record streak. The SkyHawks have walked away with the Class B title 15 of the last 16 seasons.

It will be the first action since the holiday break for Skutt, which had a solid showing at the Kansas City Stampede tournament before the layoff. The SkyHawks finished 15th and placed four wrestlers in the top eight at one of the Midwest’s toughest in-season fields.

“Wrestled well, finished better than we had there a year ago,” Skutt coach Brad Hildebrandt said. “We really have some young guys that have wrestled well and some older guys that are doing the same.”

Fellow Class B contender Scottsbluff will host a tournament this weekend, while Omaha North — Grand Island’s main competition in Class A — will head to Wisconsin for a tournament in Kaukauna.

The area’s biggest tournament is the Tom Dineen Invitational at Omaha Creighton Prep. Seventh-ranked Omaha Burke, last year’s dual champion, and No. 8 Lincoln Pius X headline that field.

Contact the writer: Nick Rubek

nickrubek@gmail.com    |   402-850-0781    |  

Nick Rubek covers Nebraska football, Omaha Beef football and high school sports throughout the state, including football, wrestling and soccer.

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