Interest in middle school wrestling is growing, so much so that the superintendents in District 5 have agreed to split the upcoming district tournament.
3A-4A programs like Preston will wrestle at American Falls and 1A-2A such as West Side at Aberdeen. Both will take place on Friday, Nov. 12 as originally scheduled.
“Wrestling numbers are up significantly in our region,” said Superintendent Spencer Barzee. “It makes it easier to bracket, running the tournament, the day is not as long, fans get home quicker, etc.”
“Having to split is a good problem to have,” said West Side Coach LeGrand Leavitt. “The numbers in middle school wrestling are really high in the district. West Side has about 30 wrestlers out. Malad has a few more than that. Soda and Grace both also have pretty big teams with 20-plus kids. Had we not split the district we would have been forced to do a 32-man bracket that would have been impossible to complete in a single day.”
Preston Coach Doug Higley also agreed with the split. “I think that it is more fair for the smaller schools to have their own tournament.”
The Indians will compete against American Falls, Snake River and Marsh Valley. THe district does not include Pocatello schools.
Coaches have some concern for lack of competition the split will provide for certain weights and will miss the sense of accomplishment placing high against so many gives.
“I’m torn on having to split,” Leavitt said. “On the one hand, it’s nice to compete with schools that are West Side’s size. The downside is that some of the hard to fill weights won’t have very many competitors. Another downside is all about bragging rights. When an athlete places in the top spots out of 10 schools, they can really be proud in accomplishing something extra difficult.”