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This year's The Clash wrestling tournament moving from RCTC to La Crosse

The annual premier wrestling event will be held at the La Crosse Center instead of RCTC due to what organizers call 'unforeseen circumstances'.

The Clash Wrestling
Shakopee's Tommy Johnson, left, wrestles Vacaville's Chris Island in a 220-pound match during The Clash on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019, at the Rochester Regional Sports Center in Rochester.
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This year's The Clash wrestling tournament scheduled for Jan. 7 and 8 will not be held at Rochester Community and Technical College as originally planned, but instead at the La Crosse Center in La Crosse, Wis.

The Clash made the announcement on their Facebook page Wednesday citing "unforeseen circumstances".

The event will still be held on the same dates, but just not in Rochester.

"I hate to point fingers or place blame, but to be honest, the college kind of canceled our event," The Clash Vice President Brian Mix said. "We tried to get a hold of them for a whole week over Christmas, of course. We had to move forward obviously. They did eventually come back and talk to us. And they had a bunch of stipulations and stuff they wanted to do and we were already too far down the other path.

"We didn't want to move it. Of course we didn't want to."

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According to Mix, RCTC had reached out to The Clash last week with questions about the event.

"The first notification we got from them was last week. It was kind of a blindside deal, you know?" Mix said. "... They initially just kind of said, no way. And then after multiple calls and letters from our lawyers and stuff, they said, 'OK, we'll have a conversation at least.'"

But The Clash wasn't the only one that feels blindsided. RCTC shares similar feelings.

"We have not heard anything from the group directly (we have only seen what has been posted to their social media sites)," RCTC Executive Director of Communications, Marketing and External Relations Nate Stoltman said via email. "The College met with them (Tuesday) to go over logistics and safety guidelines (primarily COVID-related). The Clash folks indicated they needed to check with their board on some of the health and safety requirements we require for a very large event such as this, but we did not get any indication at that time (or anytime on Wednesday) that they were considering canceling or moving the event.

"Their decision to move the event, as they say for “unforeseen circumstances,” comes just as much of a surprise to us as it must to the wrestling community. We have always been a proud host and sponsor of these types of events, and welcome groups of all kinds to utilize our facilities following current safety and public health guidelines."

RCTC had just hosted the Minnesota Christmas Tournament, which featured more teams than what is slated for The Clash, on Dec. 17 and 18. Masks were required as is the policy campus-wide.

"They essentially cited that previous tournament and the mask thing for sure," Mix said. "I get it. They're worried about their reputation as a school and stuff like that. It makes sense. I guess we've all got to do what we feel is best for our respective organizations."

Whatever the reasons, The Clash will still be going on — just at the La Crosse Center. For event organizers, that's the main thing after COVID-19 canceled last year's event. Back-to-back years without a tournament would have put the event's future in doubt.

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"That was a big worry for us," Mix said. "We don't have a tournament two years in a row, holy cow, I don't if there will be another tournament. We felt it was extremely important just to make sure to have one this year and one that runs smoothly and is a quality event for everyone."

Related Topics: GYMNASTICS
Alex VandenHouten has been a sports reporter at the Post Bulletin since Sept. 2021. He loves to go hiking, biking, snowshoeing and just simply being outdoors with his wife Olivia. Readers can reach Alex at avandenhouten@postbulletin.com.
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