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Joe Burroughs loves a good weight-class tournament, especially at this time of the season when wrestling teams across the state are gearing up for the postseason.
What he doesn’t like, however, is when teams opt to send a junior varsity squad in place of their varsity team. That’s the case for Saturday’s North Hardin Invitational Tournament at Ron Bevars Gymnasium.
Several teams – including John Hardin and Louisville squads Trinity and St. Xavier – are sending their JV teams to compete.
“I want to make our tournament one that people are coming to, rather than just sending their JV team,” Burroughs said Thursday. “We’ve still got good competition coming, but I want good teams coming – not just good individuals. So those are definitely adjustments we’re going to try and make next year.
“It waters it down a bit,” he added. “Teams will just send their JVs and not even think about it. We’ve had some teams bail on us, and that’s going to keep happening until we get some better teams to come here. We want to make it a timely event, a better event.”
Wrestling starts at 10 a.m. and action will be held on four mats. In all, 19 teams will be attendance, including area schools Central Hardin and Fort Knox. Others include Harrison County, Christian Academy of Indiana, Ohio County, Owensboro, Taylor County, Trigg County, and Louisville schools Fairdale, Iroquois, Jeffersontown, Moore, Seneca, Shawnee and Valley.
“We had some good finals matches last year and we should have some good matchups this year,” Burroughs said. “We hope to fill up to a 24-man bracket at each weight.”
The first-year coach said there is an upside to a school sending its JV team.
“The good thing about the tournament is a lot of kids will get a chance to wrestle,” Burroughs said. “We’re here to grow the sport and give everybody an opportunity to wrestle, and this tournament does that. I just want a tougher tournament. I want teams to come here because it’s a tough tournament and not just somewhere to send their JV team.”
Finals are slated for 8 p.m., but Burroughs knows the tournament almost never runs on schedule.
“I hope we can get the kids out of our gym by 10,” he said. “In the past, we’ve taken too many breaks. I want us to keep rolling until we have to take a break. We may take a short break around lunch, but it’ll only be 20 or so minutes and we’re back out there. We need to have the mats full all the time; that’s how a tournament should be ran.”
If Burroughs has his way, he’d like to have a tournament similar to the Woodford County Invitational or the South Oldham Dragon Invitational – which LaRue County and John Hardin are in this weekend after originally being part of the North Hardin tournament.
“I would like to have something comparable to the WCI and the Dragon, which are two pretty good tournaments that people want to go to,” Burroughs said. “With our connections through the No-Ox program, we can build this tournament up.
“I like a dual tournament, but our team is set up for tournaments,” he added. “We don’t get what we need out of a dual tournament because we’re light in several areas. But a bracketed tournament helps you get ready for the postseason. It’s a good mental preparation process for the kids.”
Josh Claywell can be reached at (270) 505-1752 or firstname.lastname@example.org.