The competition at the North Canton Holiday Wrestling Invitational, which will be held this weekend at Hoover High School, has traditionally been as strong as any tournament across the state of Ohio.
The West Jefferson wrestling team will head that way with a squad that’s not exactly how it would look if the tournament was held in late January as opposed to late December. But even though the Roughriders will be a bit short-handed thanks to a bevy of wrestlers recently returning to the lineup from football season, coach Nick Christopher sees this weekend as having many positives.
“It’s a strong field for sure,” the coach said. “We knew that when we set the schedule back in the spring. But it’s going to be great for some other reasons too.
“It’s about going away for an overnight. It’s about it being a bonding experience for the team. We’ve got some young kids and experience like this will help them not just on the mat but off of it too.”
The event will begin Friday, Dec. 13, starting at 5 p.m. and will continue through Saturday, Dec. 14. The event on the second day will begin at 9:30 a.m.
There are 32 teams expected to participate, most are from Ohio but the field does include schools from Michigan and West Virginia as well. Of the Ohio teams are state powers Massillon Jackson, Canton McKinley, Olentangy and Steubenville.
“Getting a chance to put our kids out there and have them wrestle in front of thousands of fans will be a good thing, especially for our young guys,” Christopher said.
The tournament will be conducted over seven mats. There will be six place winners at each weight class, with plaques and medals for those top six placers. There will be a team championship trophy awarded, as well as trophies for second and third place.