Two different ends of the wrestling spectrum will be represented on the campus of Cornell University on Sunday.
In the afternoon, the Big Red will host the quarterfinal round of the NWCA National Duals, including a trio of top 15 teams – the host school plus Nebraska and Virginia, as well as Hofstra, which had Cornell on the ropes after five weights in last week’s dual.
But before some of the top college wrestlers in the country take the mat, grapplers who are just getting their start in the sport will compete in a very different event.
NYWAY’s Future Stars State Championships tournament is open to first or second year wrestlers up through eighth grade who want an opportunity to get some competitive experience.
“There’s a gaping hole in New York for development,” said NYWAY President Clint Wattenberg. “There are a lot of places around the state where there aren’t modified programs anymore. Even where there are modified programs, the kids don’t get much mat time or many matches to get hooked into the sport.”
“A lot of times, the modified season is only 10 weeks long and some kids only get six meets,” added Finger Lakes Wrestling Club Pee-Wee Coach Eric Toftegaard. “You can’t create good wrestlers when you’re only wrestling that many times, especially when you haven’t been wrestling for very long. We’re trying to bridge the gap.”
That’s the thought process behind the Future Stars, which pits novice wrestlers against others who are in the same boat.
“Wrestlers who are new to the sport often aren’t ready for tournaments,” Toftegaard said. “Who wants to go somewhere and get pinned twice against much more experienced opponents? This will give newer wrestlers a chance to get accustomed to tournaments with kids across the state in the same position they’re in. We think this will invigorate their love for the sport and encourage them to continue to their third and fourth years when they’ll be ready for other tournaments.”
The Future Stars event will begin at 8 a.m. and use Madison Style pairing. The top four will receive custom made medals.
And after they compete, the grapplers will receive free admission to the National Duals.
“It was a really spectacular opportunity to do this event in conjunction with the National Duals,” Toftegaard said. “The kids will get a chance to wrestle and then stay and watch some amazing college athletes and some phenomenal wrestling. They’ll see what could be if they remain in the sport.”
According to Wattenberg, uniting novice and top notch college wrestling fits perfectly with what NYWAY aims to accomplish.
“We’re trying to provide opportunities for wrestlers at all levels, to grow the sport in New York,” he said. “That includes youth, high school and college. This event is another way to bring different levels of folkstyle together and have a great day of wrestling.”
For more information, see the flyer here: Future Stars Final-1
The registration deadline is February 15. To register, see here.