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Cannon Falls’ Clay Broze, shown getting his hand raised after winning the Class 2A 220-pound state wrestling title, will head to Augustana College next year to continue his wrestling career. (R-E file photo)

Wrestling: State champion Broze picks Augustana

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Nearly six months after winning a state championship, Cannon Falls’ Clay Broze has found a place to hone his wrestling skills at the collegiate level. 

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In August, Broze, the defending Class 2A 220-pound state champion, committed to wrestle at Division II Augustana College, located in Sioux Falls, S.D.

After receiving interest from other Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference schools like Southwest Minnesota State and St. Cloud State, as well as some letters and phone calls from a couple Division I schools, ultimately Broze stuck with the team that pursued him the hardest.

“It seemed like they cared the most,” said Broze, a senior this year for Cannon Falls. “My parents really liked the school, and it seemed like it was the right place for me.

“I took a visit in the start of the summer, and I had been there a couple times for football camps, so I’m familiar with the campus.”

In 2012-13, the Vikings went 10-6 overall, 6-3 in the NSIC and sent two wrestlers to the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships last March.

Broze went 50-1 last year, defeating Dawson-Boyd/Lac qui Parle Valley’s JD Struxness 11-10 in the state championship match. He made waves across the Minnesota wrestling community last winter when he defeated nationally ranked Broc Berge of Kasson-Mantorville during a dual meet between the Bombers and KoMets.

A question mark that hovers over Broze is what weight he will wrestle at in college. At 220 pounds, Broze is in the middle of the two biggest weights in college wrestling: 197 pounds and heavyweight (285 pounds or below). The details have to be hashed out, but Broze has no problem cutting weight if necessary.

“Last year I started off the season at 200 pounds, then I was at 197 at La Crescent and I was gaining weight during the season,” Broze said. “(Augustana) said, ‘We’ll take you at 197 or heavyweight.’ I’ll probably ask them again soon to see what they’re starting to think.”

At first, Broze was concerned about making his decision early. Ultimately, the defending state champ was happy to exhale after choosing Augustana. Broze is a three-sport athlete for the Bombers, also competing in football and baseball.

“It definitely helps a lot not having to worry about it,” Broze said. “At my house, the big question was what I was going to do. … Augie was the best option for me. All the credit in the world goes to my dad in helping me. I wouldn’t have done so much without him helping me.”

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