WRESTLING AT A GLANCE
Site: Covelli Centre.
Dates: Junior High tournament, Saturday and Sunday; Grade School (K-6) tournament, March 19-20.
Time schedule: Today, weigh-ins, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Saturday, 8:45 a.m, doors open; 10 a.m., first session; 1 p.m., second session; 4 p.m., third session. (All sessions are continuous without breaks.) Sunday, 6:45 a.m., doors open; 8 a.m., first session; 10:30 a.m., second session; 1 p.m., third session. (All sessions are continuous without breaks.)
By Greg Gulas
With weigh-ins scheduled for today and competition taking place both Saturday and Sunday at the venue, the city’s top entertainment complex will now open the facility to aspiring wrestlers from around the state when it plays host to the 13th Junior High State Wrestling Tournament.
On March 18-20, it also will host the Grade School state championships of Ohio.
It’s an event that Eric Ryan, Covelli Centre executive director calls a perfect match for both his venue and the high profile tournament.
“Events like this are a step in the right direction for the Covelli Centre. Everyone wins when you play host to such a respected group and tournament,” said Ryan. “By bringing so many people from across the state to our fine city, restaurants, hotels and shopping centers also feel the impact. The local economy benefits and that to me is a very important stimulus package for the entire community,” ù Ryan said.
The Ohio Athletic Committee has hosted its event across the state with great success. In 2009, in Marion, over 8,000 fans visited over the two weekends of the event.
“Over the past decade this championship has become one of the premier events on the Ohio wrestling calendar. It brings together great middle school wrestlers from every part of the state while doing an excellent job of identifying upcoming stars who will shortly be a significant part of the high school wrestling scene,” ù Jared Opfer, OAC business development director said.
“At the same time, it provides a big stage for all of the middle school wrestlers in order for them to show their talent and their heart.
“More and more, a Junior High title, placement and even participation becomes an important wrestling credential that enhances the resume of any youth wrestler,” ù he added.
For this weekend’s Junior High championships, over 2,100 wrestlers competed in eight districts to qualify for 864 state positions.
Eighteen champions will be crowned with special guests set to include Hunter Stieber (a four-time Ohio high school state champion and two-time Junior High state champion); Cam Tessari (four-time Ohio high school state champion) and Chris Phillips (a four-time Ohio high school state champion and three-time junior high state champion).
All three wrestlers have already committed to wrestle for Ohio State.
For the grade-school championships, 1,200 hopefuls will compete at the state level with 41 champions set to be crowned.
Noted participants will include the five OAC scholarship recipients — Zach Walker, Angelo Calderon, Lucas Cummins, Mitchell Gross and Dominique Barlow.
Weigh-ins start at 6:30 p.m. with Saturday’s competition set to begin at 10 a.m. Sunday’s competition begins at 8 a.m.
General admission tickets are $15. Doors will open 75 minutes before the start of the event.