High octane wrestling returns this weekend as Newton High School is set to host the annual Tournament of Champions Jan. 11 and 12 at Ravenscroft Gym. This year marks the 56th edition of the tournament and, like always, the weekend will be jam-packed with some must-see match-ups. Three highlights:
1) A tournament field worthy of its name
For high school wrestlers looking to claim individual state titles, Newton's Tournament of Champions is a good proving ground, as it often lives up to its billing.
This year will be no different, as the field will include nearly 100 ranked wrestlers and more than one-third of the 30 teams competing are currently ranked in the top 10 in their classifications, including four of the top five teams in Class 5A (defending tournament champion Valley Center being one of them), three of the top four in Class 6A, and two of the top three from Class 321A.
2) Hometown heroes
Of those wrestlers gunning for a glory, a trio of Newton Railers will look to give the hometown crowd plenty to cheer this weekend.
Newton's Grant Treaster (120 lbs.) and Wyatt Hendrickson (220 lbs.) come in ranked as the top wrestlers in their respective weight classes, while Dante Harper is currently second at 170 lbs. in Class 5A. All three will be considered contenders to take home individual titles, with Treaster and Hendrickson both looking to defend theirs from a year ago. Meanwhile, Harper will try to fight his way to the top in loaded field filled with five of the top six wrestlers in 5A alone.
3) Respect the grind
Wrestlers won't be the only ones hard at work this weekend, as Newton High School Athletics staff and a horde of volunteers will also be putting their time in on the mat to make sure the tournament runs smoothly.
From officials to scorers to those wiping down the mats, Newton High School requires a lot of help putting on the Tournament of Champions. If fans see a need and want to get involved helping with the next tournament, they can contact Newton High School at 284-6280.
If you go
When: 9 a.m., Jan. 11 and 12.
Where: Ravenscroft Gym, Newton High School.
How much: Two-day tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for students (K-12); single tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students (K-12).