As we ring in the new and say goodbye to the old, here are five changes I'd like to see New Jersey adopt for the 2013-14 wrestling season. Happy New Year to all!
1. Wrestling in New Jersey needs a lot of "setup" changes. Starting with how matches are calculated. Count competitions instead of every bout individually. For example, a kid wrestles seven times at a tourney and each bout counts toward his total of 30 before sectionals. Let a tournament count as ONE competition.
2. If the NJSIAA is so concerned about making money, then it should institute a tourney of champions following Groups and run it during the week we lost on the schedule some years ago for an unknown reason. This year we got it back because of Lady Gaga. The state would make a boatload of money with a TOC. It's a no-brainer.
3. We don't need 32 district tournaments. It's too many and too watered down. One need only to look at last year's District 14 brackets to see the ridiculousness of it. From 182-285, a total of 17 wrestlers were entered in those four weight classes. How about 195 where there were three and all advanced to Region 4 without a victory.
The NJSIAA claims it lost money on them and is now turning them over to the schools to run. I say 16 is plenty and would make winning one even more of an accomplishment. I mean, a wrestler can win one match and advance to regions. No wonder District 11 in Pennsylvania laughs at this. That district houses 20 teams alone in Class AAA.
4. A return to 13 weight classes so tie dual matches are not broken by silly criteria. Imagine if a team ever lost on a coin flip -- especially in sectionals or Groups?
5. It won't happen for next season or even a few after, but how about we all take up a collection to assist Rutgers in building a new facility big enough to hold the state tournament. Central to all and a much better arena for kids to attend. Teens on the boardwalk in AC is a sad sight. Hey, one can dream, right?