USD 408 is in the midst of prepping for a massive 321A regional wrestling tournament.
“It’s hard to know how many people will turn out, but it’s going to be crowded,” athletic director Grant Thierolf said. “There are some good teams coming in.
“We’re expecting about 150 wrestlers through all the weight classes, but then you figure in coaches and parents and families. I’d be disappointed if we don’t have at least 1,000 in attendance.”
With 25 teams from all over the state scheduled to compete on three mats for a chance at state, emotions are likely to run high among wrestlers and fans.
Thierolf said that part of the district’s ideology behind building the SAC was to host large sporting events.
“I think KSHAA recognizes Marion is a great place to host things,” Thierolf said. “We have more tournaments than any other school our size. We’re centrally located, and the SAC is just a good facility.”
He said KSHAA factors in a school’s record of accomplishment of hosting events, the facilities themselves, and a school’s willingness to host when selecting regional tournament locations.
The district has held two volleyball, two basketball tournaments in the SAC so far this year, he said. Regionals will be the third wrestling event USD 408 has hosted.
Preparing for such large events starts with Quinn Trapp and the district’s maintenance crew, he said.
“They really do a phenomenal job cleaning and taping off the mats, and getting everything set up,” Thierolf said. “And we couldn’t do it without all the volunteer help. Most wrestling parents do a fantastic job of helping. We never really have a problem finding help.”
Numerous parent and youth volunteers will serve as scorekeepers, timers, blood workers, and “towel tappers” who tap refs on the back when the time is up, he said.
A man from Burden is coming in to run specialized scoring and bracketing software, Thierolf said.
“It’s a new program for us,” he said. “We wanted to make sure everything goes smooth.
“We hope people come out and watch our wrestlers. It really is a great sport and it’s incredible what our kids can do.”
The Warriors take the mat at 2p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday at the two-day tournament.