Yesterday I had the privilege of attending the first of hopefully many IHSWCA Team State Duals championships. There has been lots of criticism and praise of the event from the selection to the date and everything in between. It was a great day of wrestling and for the first go-round, it was spectacular. As with anything in life if you don’t strive to improve the product will suffer. Here are some things I saw as a casual fan and promoter of the sport.
1A Teams and Fans
During the finals the fans and teams really got after it and every match was exciting. It was a great atmosphere and it seemed the kids and coaches had the most enthusiasm of any of the classes. You could tell Adams Central and Churubusco put a lot of stock in this event and each point scored was cheered by each squad.
Coaches and Schools getting excited for the event
Lots of schools made this event a big deal and it showed in not only things like t-shirts, but fan support. Great job to everyone that made this tournament something special.
Mater Dei bumping up
It is very rare that a team will bump up classes, but Mater Dei did and lost by the slimmest of margins. Thank you for not being a big fish in a small pond Wildcats and getting after it with the big boys.
The refs were great and were “not seen” for most of the day. Great job by the IHSWCA getting the best refs in the state.
The awards were top notch for everyone and not only will the participants have great memories they will have a great keepsake to go along with it.
Fans for the Finals
I was disappointed to not see many casual fans or fans from teams not in the finals staying to watch the last three matches.
It was extremely difficult to keep track of the team score of each match if you didn’t have TrackWrestling on your phone.
People complaining about the process
I for one am not shy about criticizing the IHSWCA, but this time they did a great job with what they had to work with. I would love for an in-season “wildcard” to be awarded, but there is no feasible way of doing this. Maybe our IHSAA Commissioner will give us a weigh-in exemption and we can do this…hint hint Mr. Faulkens!
While the IHSWCA did a great job and hit a home run with this event, I feel that they are still not even close to what this event can be. Here are a few suggestions that they will hopefully look at for the future.
Westfield has great facilities that 99% of the schools in the state are jealous of, but the place was cramped on the floor. The IHSWCA should look into having the event at a place like the Pepsi Coliseum at the fairgrounds. That would add a lot of flare to the event and give it more prestige with it being held outside of a high school.
Team Entry Fee
It seems weird for the IHSWCA to invite a team, then charge them to enter the event. What about waiving or reducing the entry fee if a team sells X amount of presale tickets? This is a great way for teams to save money and get more fans to the event. This would also be a great way for teams to recoup some of their expenses if the IHSWCA would give teams a cut of their sales after X number of tickets sold.
This is where I feel the IHSWCA really dropped the ball. This event should have been shoved down the throats of the fans of the sport since the start of practice in late October. Have someone create a webpage(not in MS Word) with all the information for the event. Maybe ask some person at IndianaMat for a banner ad and other promotional help, they seemed to do well with that preseason event in September.
Need more sponsors! This is a great event and there seemed to be a lack of sponsors. Sponsors could help with securing a facility like the Pepsi Coliseum and reduce team travel expenses. Hotel sponsors would love to give a reduced rate for people attending the event. Restaurants would love to hand out coupons and such. The list goes on and these companies would love to have acknowledgement during the event.