Minisink Valley looks to make splash at The Clash

How’s this for ringing in the New Year?

Minisink Valley wrestlers reported to the high school no later than 3:45 a.m. for 4 a.m. team bus departure to Newark Airport and a flight to Minneapolis, Minn. for The Clash, one of the biggest tournaments in the program’s history, Friday and Saturday in Rochester, Minn.

The Warriors open one of four 8-team pools against Apple Valley (Minn.) Friday. If the Warriors win, they would face Huntley (Ill.) or Northfield (Minn.) in the next round. Teams from California, Hawaii and Iowa are on the opposite side of Minisink Valley’s pool bracket. The winner of each pool will compete for the dual-meet tournament’s championship Saturday.

“We really want to see what we are capable of and we want to try and get to the national wrestling scene,” Minisink Valley coach Kevin Gallagher said. “I think we have some kids on our team that I would like make sure colleges see. It serves a lot of purposes and challenges us. There’s good wrestling around here. Obviously, that’s just a different level. We just want to see where we are.”

It’s been a while since a Section 9 team has competed at a national-level tournament like The Clash. Monroe-Woodbury participated in the Beast of the East, an individual tournament, in the early 2000s.

“We were invited three years ago right after we won the state championship,” Gallagher said. “We were invited again two years ago and we just weren’t there yet.  

“We did some fund raising. Our alumni came through big time helping us out and raise some money. Our Minisink community came up big to help us get here.”

Minisink Valley is bringing 17 wrestlers on the trip. The tournament has 14 weight classes and no 99-pound class.

The Warriors’ projected starting lineups is Zac McKernan (106), Luke Greiner (113), Nick Picariello (120), Zack Ryder (126), Jordan Suarez (132), Sean Savacool (138), Jaccob Gonzalez (145), Andrew Filip (152), Jace Hirsch (160), Chris McLaughlin (170), Ethan Gallo (182), Scotty Geysen (195), Carson Henry (220) and Adam Fenner (285). Sofia Macaluso (120), Brian Lombardi (138) and JC Cabrera (220) will also see action.

The Clash begins a grinding schedule for Minisink Valley. The team is scheduled to return home at 12:38 a.m. Monday. The Warriors will defend their Section 9 Duals title Tuesday and Wednesday before competing in the Eastern States Classic Friday and Saturday (Jan. 11-12) at SUNY Sullivan.

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