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Independence prepares to host two-day wrestling tournament
INDEPENDENCE - Independence has hosted an entertaining and competitive first weekend of the wrestling season.
As good as those tournaments have been, they will pale in comparison to what is planned and what it could produce in the future.
The Mustangs will host a bigger and even better Independence Invitational, starting a new two-day, 25-team event Friday with the conclusion Saturday. Some of the top teams in Classes 1A, 2A and 3A will wrestle in the individual tournament.
'We have a new gym,” said Independence Coach Michael Doyle, noting the new school is in its fourth year. 'We have a beautiful facility. We're trying to maximize our facility and get some good wrestling competition.”
The field consists of Alburnett, Algona, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Cedar Rapids Xavier, Chariton, Christian Brothers College (Mo.), Clarion-Goldfield, Clear Creek Amana, Columbus Community, Crestwood, Des Moines Roosevelt, Fort Dodge, Fort Madison, Linn-Mar, Lisbon, Maquoketa, Mediapolis, New Hampton, North Fayette, Osage, Pleasant Valley, Solon, South Tama, Waterloo East and the host Mustangs.
Alburnett and Lisbon are ranked first and second in Class 1A, while New Hampton and Solon are ranked in the top two spots in 2A. Fort Dodge is third in 3A and South Tama is rated eighth in 2A.
'I think they are taking steps to make it the premier event in the state,” Prairie Coach Kane Thompson said. 'Some of these brackets are going to be crazy.”
The tournament will be a 'scramble” format with round-robin competition Friday night, hoping to end about 10 p.m. He said some of those matches may spill over into Saturday before they pool and bracket the individuals based on the scramble results.
Six mats will be in the gymnasium with about 1,200 seats for spectators. Two more mats used for matches will be held in the 700-seat auditorium. A commons area with seating and a concession stand will have a video feed to follow action as well. Technology will connect the gym and auditorium as well.
'We're in year one,” Doyle said. 'It's hard to say how it's going to go.”
Wrestling is woven into Iowa's culture. The sport is a perfect match to the state's traditional blue-collar and agricultural history. The state that boasts the most celebrated state wrestling tournament, three high-profile NCAA Division I programs and an NCAA Division III and NAIA national power doesn't have a marquee multistate competition. Doyle said he hopes the tournament expands to 32 teams with 10 to 12 programs from states throughout the Midwest.
He already has received calls from programs interested in next year.
'It's already growing and it hasn't even started,” Doyle said. 'It could be good.”
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