With the increasing number of boys and girls specializing in wrestling and training year-round, the number of tournaments on the wrestling calendar continues to grow. Now, unlike a decade ago, there is an abundance of preseason competition opportunities.
The Super 32 Challenge has long been hailed as the premier preseason high school wrestling tournament in the country. It started as a modest local tournament in North Carolina, but has grown into a preseason mega-tournament that attracts the nation’s top high school wrestlers.
Over 200 wrestlers at last year’s event won a state-level tournament title the previous season. The field included approximately 100 wrestlers that are ranked in their respective grade levels by InterMat, and over 50 that ended the season in the national weight class rankings.
“Over the last ten-plus years, this tournament has seen many of the nation’s stars and future stars compete on its mats,” wrote Josh Lowe, InterMat high school wrestling analyst. “Furthermore, every year one can count on this tournament producing a match or event — or more — that people will talk about for years to come.”
Thirteen of the 20 NCAA finalists in NCAA Division I this past season competed at the Super 32 Challenge during their high school career, with seven winning titles. Among those champions: Olympic and world champion Kyle Snyder (Ohio State) and three-time NCAA champion Zain Retherford (Penn State).
Coaches from virtually all the top college wrestling programs attend the Super 32 Challenge, hoping to find top talent to join their programs.
While the Super 32 Challenge has set the standard for a preaseason tournament and attracts the most high-end talent and depth, it’s one of many high school preseason tournaments on the wrestling calendar. Wrestlers can now find preaseason competitions in any region of the country.
Valdez Wrestling, one of the top wrestling schools in California, is proponent of preseason training and competition.
“Preseason competition is your testing grounds,” the website states in a blog post. “It is your opportunity to test and try all of your techniques (old and new) on real opponents. It is also the best way to gauge your improvement. You can practice, and drill, and master technique all you want but without competition there is no way to gauge any of your progress. The greatest thing about preseason competition is that no one will remember who won or lost a preseason tournament at the end of the regular season, so winning and losing doesn’t matter.”
Wyoming Seminary coach Scott Green believes preseason training is “essential. However, Green is not proponent of high school wrestlers competing in the fall. He recently wrote about it on Wyoming Seminary wrestling’s Facebook group.
“I’m against it,” wrote Green. “Plain and simple. I think you are best served shutting it down after Fargo and not stepping on the mat again (to compete) till your first team event of the year in late November/early December. Again, I never tell anyone what to do, so a lot of our kids have gone to events in the fall and done well. What I don’t do is train them to peak for those events. We want to peak 2-3 times. Prep Nationals. WTT. Fargo. If you are trying to peak every weekend, you have never really peaked.”
For high school wrestlers looking to compete this preseason, MatBoss has compiled a list of preseason tournaments with dates and locations.
Sept. 8: Providence Preseason Brawl (Providence, R.I.)
Sept. 9: IndianaMat Hoosier Preseason Open (Fort Wayne, Ind.)
Oct. 7-8: Journeymen Fall Classic (Schenectady, N.Y.)
Oct. 13: Grappler Fall Classic (East Lansing, Mich.)
Oct. 20: InterMat Classic (Edina Minn.)
Oct. 20: Fall Brawl (Kansas City, Mo.)
Oct. 20-21: Freakshow (Las Vegas, Nev.)
Oct. 27-28: Super 32 Challenge (Greensboro, N.C.)
Oct. 27-28: USA Wrestling Preseason Nationals (Des Moines, Iowa)
Nov. 3-4: The Surge (Johnstown, Pa.)
Nov. 10: Trackwrestling Preseason Championships (La Crosse, Wis.)