Overview of preseason high school wrestling tournaments in 2016
Yet again the fall is here, which means it is almost the scholastic wrestling season. However, these days, there is no such thing as a true offseason. There have already been a few pre-season tournaments, mostly Super 32 Challenge early entry qualifiers, but the preseason tournaments begin in earnest very soon.
The following is a listing and overview of some of the higher profile events, ones that have either a regional or national flavor, all events listed here are in the months of October or early November.
Grappler Fall Classic — October 1 — Grand Rapids, Mich. (Kellogg Arena)
This one day tournament will be held on Saturday for all age levels. Those being a high school tournament (9th-12th with 7th & 8th eligible as well), a middle school division (7th & 8th), and an elementary school division (3rd through 6th). The field is primarily from the Great Lakes area with a sprinkling of others from across the country.
Journeymen Fall Classic — October 1-2 — Shenectady, N.Y. (Union College)
The Sunday, October 2 event is the high school division “invitation primary” format that features selected wrestlers based on wrestling credentials. Round-robin format with wrestlers placed into groupings based on weight and ability level. Those wrestlers not in the Sunday field — either due to expressing interest too late, or not meeting the credential thresholds — can compete their way into the field on Saturday. Also on Saturday will be round-robin competitions for middle school and female wrestlers.
Columbus Day Duals — October 9 — York, Pa. (Expo Center)
Dual meet tournament open to teams competing in divisions for high school, middle school, and elementary aged students. The field has featured competitors from Pennsylvania and surrounding states in past years.
Conflict at Carver — October 15 — Iowa City, Iowa (Carver-Hawkeye Arena)
This is a third year event that was initially branded as the Hawkeye Wrestling Club Challenge. However, it is the second year branded as the “Conflict at Carver.” The field last year was Iowa-centric with other competitors coming from bordering states. This year should see a slightly broader field with the “Night of Conflict” event being held the night before.
Super 32 Challenge — October 15-16 — Greensboro, N.C.
This is the pinnacle event for the high school preseason. A national field, which in the fall of 2015, featured about 100 wrestlers that would end the 2015-16 season in the national weight class rankings. Over recent years, a “who’s who” of scholastic aged wrestling has competed on the mats in Greensboro. Among the champions last year were four who ended the scholastic season ranked first in the country: Adam Busiello (Eastport-South Manor, N.Y.), Nick Suriano (Bergen Catholic, N.J./Penn State), Yianni Diakomihalis (Hilton, N.Y.), and Mason Manville (Wyoming Seminary, Pa./Penn State). The high school event is both Saturday and Sunday, while on Sunday (November 1st) there is also a middle school tournament as well as two divisions of elementary school competition (based on age).
InterMat JJ Classic — October 22 — Rochester, Minn. (UCR Regional Sports Center)
Event is for wrestlers in grades 7 through 12 competing in one division. In past years the field has primarily featured wrestlers from the Upper Midwest and Great Plains region. The premier match of last year’s tournament was a final at 138 pounds between Alex Lloyd and Kanen Storr. Other notable champions from last year were Israel Navarro, Justin Portillo, Paul Bianchi, Colton Clingenpeel, Mark Hall, Lucas Jeske, and Anthony Cassioppi. Hall, the nation’s No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2016, won five InterMat JJ Classic titles.
Southwest Kickoff Classic (aka, “The Freak Show”) — October 22-23 — Las Vegas, Nev. (Westgate Resort and Casino)
Somewhat similar to the Preseason Nationals in that it is a pretty national event, except that the primary base is going to be the western third of the United States. There are divisions for the full spectrum of age groups. The 15U, high school varsity, and high school elite tournaments are two-day events (both Saturday and Sunday); while the 6U, 8U, 10U, and 12U tournaments, along with both divisions of high school girls, are one-day events on Sunday.
USA Wrestling Preseason Nationals — November 5-6 — Cedar Falls, Iowa (UNI-Dome)
On Saturday, November 5 it is the high school boys competition, split into two divisions (freshman/sophomore and junior/senior); while on Sunday, November 6, there are four grade level based divisions for below high school boys (1st/2nd, 3rd/4th, 5th/6th, and 7th/8th) and a fifth division for high school girls. The high school divisions are pretty national events, with the primary base of the field coming from the Midwest.