(PETERBOROUGH) More than 1,000 high school wrestlers and their coaches will descend on Peterborough next week for the 2012 OFSSA provincial wrestling championships.
In total 857 male and female wrestlers and 300 coaches will take part in the event that runs Monday (March 5) to Wednesday (March 7). The event is so big that the only facility large enough to house it is the Peterborough Memorial Centre.
Crestwood Secondary will be the weigh-in site for all athletes Monday evening.
“It’s the first time in over 20 years that its been hosted east of the GTA,” says championship communications director, John Cho. “It’s a great thing for Peterborough and the local wrestling community.”
It’s estimated that $200,000 will be injected into the local economy during the event. As its stands nearly every hotel in the area is booked with athletes, their coaches and parents. Restaurants should also expect to be unusually busy during the first few days of next week as well.
The event is the result of over a year’s worth of work, by COSSA wrestling convenor Roger Jenkins and, literally, an army of wrestling coaches, sport enthusiasts and local school boards staff. Cho gives credit to the overwhelming support of from the wrestling community, including many KPR athletes and staff members from Crestwood.
“They all are working very well together,” says Cho.
As for the competition itself, spectators can expect to see the best wrestling talent in the province hit the mat. Many weight classes will see former provincial and national champions grapple for top honours at this year’s championships.
What’s interesting to note is that the tournament is the only OFSSA championship event that doesn’t class competitors by age or skill level. Regardless of how old they are, wrestlers are placed in appropriate weight categories.
“In essence you could have a Grade 9 wrestling a Grade 12 student and that Grade 9 could win,” says Cho.
Due to the rarity of the event in this area, the community is encouraged to come out and cheer on the local athletes in their quest for gold. Local school principals have been invited to come out and support their students in the competition.
“Its tough to be out there by yourself,” states Cho. “Win or lose its just you on the mat.”
Athlete registration and weigh-in takes place on Monday evening at Crestwood, with the competition beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday. Medal and consolation matches are scheduled for Wednesday.
Those interested in taking in some traditional Olympic-style wrestling can pick up day or event passes for $5 and $8 respectively at the Memorial Centre box office. All other competition schedules and information can be found on the championship website http://www.ofsaa.on.ca/wrestling .