Flathead Valley faces Team Germany in legendary mat dual

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  • Glacier High School’s Bridger Beach (132 lbs.), top, wrestles Baden-Württemberg’s Nils Krautsieder (130 lbs.) at Legends Stadium on Wednesday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 1

    Columbia Falls High School’s Justin Windauer (118 lbs.), right, wrestles Baden-Württemberg’s Jonas Stark (113 lbs.) at Legends Stadium on Wednesday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 2

    Flathead High School’s Asher Kemppainen (139 lbs.), top, wrestles Baden-Württemberg’s Paul Niemann (132 lbs.) in a Greco-Roman rules match at Legends Stadium on Wednesday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 3

    Baden-Württemberg wrestlers sing the German national anthem before the start of a match against Flathead Valley wrestlers at Legends Stadium on Wednesday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 4

    Baden-Württemberg’s Lorenz Römpp high-fives his teammates before the start of an annual cultural exchange wrestling exhibition against Flathead Valley wrestlers at Legends Stadium on Wednesday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 5

    Flathead Valley and Baden-Württemberg wrestlers line up along the mat as the American and German national anthems are sung before an annual cultural exchange wrestling exhibition at Legends Stadium on Wednesday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 6

    Fans battle for t-shirts tossed into the crowd by the Baden-Württemberg wrestlers before the start of an annual cultural exchange wrestling exhibition at Legends Stadium on Wednesday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 7

    Flathead High School’s Asher Kemppainen (139 lbs.), right, prepares to tie up with Baden-Württemberg’s Paul Niemann (132 lbs.) in a Greco-Roman rules match at Legends Stadium on Wednesday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 8

    Flathead High School’s Paxton Boyce (180 lbs.), left, wrestles Baden-Württemberg’s Marcus King (183 lbs.) at Legends Stadium on Wednesday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 9

    Glacier High School’s Bridger Beach (132 lbs.), top, wrestles Baden-Württemberg’s Nils Krautsieder (130 lbs.) at Legends Stadium on Wednesday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 10

    Glacier High School’s Bridger Beach (132 lbs.), left, ties up with Baden-Württemberg’s Nils Krautsieder (130 lbs.) at Legends Stadium on Wednesday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • Glacier High School’s Bridger Beach (132 lbs.), top, wrestles Baden-Württemberg’s Nils Krautsieder (130 lbs.) at Legends Stadium on Wednesday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 1

    Columbia Falls High School’s Justin Windauer (118 lbs.), right, wrestles Baden-Württemberg’s Jonas Stark (113 lbs.) at Legends Stadium on Wednesday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 2

    Flathead High School’s Asher Kemppainen (139 lbs.), top, wrestles Baden-Württemberg’s Paul Niemann (132 lbs.) in a Greco-Roman rules match at Legends Stadium on Wednesday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 3

    Baden-Württemberg wrestlers sing the German national anthem before the start of a match against Flathead Valley wrestlers at Legends Stadium on Wednesday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 4

    Baden-Württemberg’s Lorenz Römpp high-fives his teammates before the start of an annual cultural exchange wrestling exhibition against Flathead Valley wrestlers at Legends Stadium on Wednesday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 5

    Flathead Valley and Baden-Württemberg wrestlers line up along the mat as the American and German national anthems are sung before an annual cultural exchange wrestling exhibition at Legends Stadium on Wednesday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 6

    Fans battle for t-shirts tossed into the crowd by the Baden-Württemberg wrestlers before the start of an annual cultural exchange wrestling exhibition at Legends Stadium on Wednesday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 7

    Flathead High School’s Asher Kemppainen (139 lbs.), right, prepares to tie up with Baden-Württemberg’s Paul Niemann (132 lbs.) in a Greco-Roman rules match at Legends Stadium on Wednesday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 8

    Flathead High School’s Paxton Boyce (180 lbs.), left, wrestles Baden-Württemberg’s Marcus King (183 lbs.) at Legends Stadium on Wednesday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 9

    Glacier High School’s Bridger Beach (132 lbs.), top, wrestles Baden-Württemberg’s Nils Krautsieder (130 lbs.) at Legends Stadium on Wednesday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 10

    Glacier High School’s Bridger Beach (132 lbs.), left, ties up with Baden-Württemberg’s Nils Krautsieder (130 lbs.) at Legends Stadium on Wednesday. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)

It was a touch under 90 degrees as wrestlers from the Flathead Valley and Germany started their warmups at Legends Stadium ahead of their dual on Wednesday.

A football stadium is undoubtedly an odd place for a wrestling match, but since the gyms at Flathead High School are undergoing renovations, event organizers improvised.

The match was part of an exchange program where wrestlers from Baden-Württemberg, Germany, spent the week in northwest Montana, hosted by the Flathead Valley wrestlers. Earlier in the week, the German team was shown all that the Flathead Valley had to offer with visits to Whitefish Lake, Glacier National Park and Foy’s Lake.

They will play a pickup soccer game versus Flathead today.

Before the match started, the German and United States national anthems were sung. As wrestlers from each weight class were introduced, they exchanged t-shirts, some even thrown into the enthusiasic crowd in the bleachers. Coaches exchanged gifts as well.

Despite being at a football stadium in the summer heat, it looked mostly the same as any typical wrestling match, with the teams set up on either side of the mat and a scorers table at one end.

The time clock and scores were shown on the big scoreboard.

The wrestlers did have to contend with not only the heat, but the sun heating up the mat and its glare off the mat. Despite this, the grapplers seemed mostly unaffected, though water breaks were imperative.

High school sports are not emphasized as much in Germany as they are in the states. Students often participate in sports after school hours in the evenings. The cultural exchange, however, is about more than athletics. It’s an opportunity to share culture and form lasting friendships, as well as a reward for each athlete’s hard work.

The German team visited Billings and Sidney earlier on in July and will make its final Montana stop in Missoula this week.

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