State wrestling needs changes
A couple of thoughts after spending upward of 12 hours during the last two days watching the annual NIAA State Wrestling Championships in Reno.
The first thing that Nevada needs to do is go back to the Super State format where all three divisions are incorporated into one tournament. It used to be that way, but according to several respected people in the wrestling community, the Southern Nevada schools didn’t like it when their kids was defeated by a kid from White Pine of Owyee.
Wrestling is one of those sports where it really doesn’t matter how big your school is. Wrestling is really an individual event in the post-season. Teams don’t move on, individuals move on.
Case in point. Lowry and Fallon have tremendous 1A programs, and both schools and their kids are capable of competing at a higher level. Lowry routinely beats bigger schools in dual meets and tournaments.
Currently, the state brackets are at nine people in each weight class, which is way too small. You have to wrestle just three matches to win a state title. Not acceptable.
By having just one state meet, you could get a more desirable 32-man bracket. You would take the top six finishers in the three large school regionals plus seven from Division IA and seven from Division III-IV.
If you think that’s too much, you could drop down to 24 with five from each of the three large-school regions and Division IA with four from the Division III-IV regional.
Either number is better than the current top three in each weight.
The second thing I would change, especially if the format is going to stay the same, is to make each of the tournaments one day. Go with the two smaller divisions on Friday, and have the large schools on Saturday.
Wrestling has a rule where you can’t wrestle more than five times in a day.
In a nine-person bracket, the most you would wrestle in one day is four times, and kids do that all the time in team dual meets.
And, by making it one day, you limit the costs for the parents, who routinely spend hundreds of dollars on rooms, food and transportation for out-of-town tournaments.
There’s no time like the present to make some much-needed change to a sport which is suffering from numbers on a team to numbers in the stands.
I’d like to see Carson host the Division I regionals on a yearly basis. Save for Spanish Springs, Carson has the biggest gym in the north. With the new wrestling room and the old wrestling room, there would be plenty of room to warm up.
Carson runs a first-class operation whenever it hosts a regional event, both on and off the mat.
While we’re on the subject of wrestling, a special shout-out to Carson City resident Willy McDonald, Bishop Manogue’s top-notch 138-pounder. McDonald cruised to the title in his weight class with three straight wins.
It was nice to see Morse Burley Gym packed to the rafters for Friday’s Carson-Douglas basketball games. It was nice to see some school spirit on the Carson side. Crowds for Carson’s games this year have been inconsistent in terms of student attendance.
It would be great to see a big turnout Tuesday at Spanish Springs for the first-round boys game, and Wednesday at Carson for the girls game. A win for either team means they would get to play in their home gym for the semifinals.