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Al Smith invite

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The Al Smith is seen to many to be a preview of the state finals.  There is alot of matches between state ranked kids.  Last year, there was some pretty good matches, even got to watch the 215 state finals match 1 and 1/2 months before it was actually supposed to happen.

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If memory serves me correctly, the man who this tournament is named after once said something to this effect,  "If you can place top 8 at the Mishawaka Invitational, there is no reason that you can't make it to state."

 

 

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If memory serves me correctly, the man who this tournament is named after once said something to this effect,  "If you can place top 8 at the Mishawaka Invitational, there is no reason that you can't make it to state."

 

 

 

I don't know that I would necessarily agree that placing top 8 makes you good enough to go to state, but finishing in the top 3 or 4 at this tournament definitely means that you should be at Conseco in February.

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Back when I coached at Bishop Luers, this was the springboard for a lot of our wrestlers to making the jump to state.  We always looked at it as if you can place top 4, you should get out of FW SS.  It probably varies based on which SS you are coming out of, but a lot of the stronger teams from the FW SS used to compete there.  That has changed in recent years, as less FW area teams are there, and other FW area teams like Yorktown have become a powerhouse.

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Yes, this tournament is that tough.  I don't feel like digging through old brackets right now, but I can if anybody has doubts.  Year after year, kids place higher at State than they did at the Al Smith.  Year after year there are numerous "previews" of State Championship matches.  Everybody talks about how many ranked kids are at the tournament, wait until the end of the season, and then count how many State Qualifiers wrestled at the Al Smith!  If you haven't seen it, you should.  If you can't make it, save the final brackets and then compare them to the State Finals program at the end of the year and you will be impressed.

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Connersville is no slouch this year with 37 ranked kids.  Overall depth of unranked but still very good kids goes to the Al Smith meet as well.  Never been to Connersville for the finals but at Mishawaka they are pretty cool, especially if you can get and upper deck front row seat.  Cashe and Harper a couple of years ago was awesome.

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I went thrumy stat book from last Feb. and I found that 49 of the wrestlers that

made it to state participated at the Al Smith.  That is 21.8%.  I might be off by

just a few because I wasn't sure of all of the teams that were at the Smith, but I

am close.

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If we are comparing this to State, then most of the 22% of State ranked wrestlers here must be from small schools.  I believe I have been told that 75% of the field of state is made up of big schools.  ;D

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Connersville is no slouch this year with 37 ranked kids.  Overall depth of unranked but still very good kids goes to the Al Smith meet as well.  Never been to Connersville for the finals but at Mishawaka they are pretty cool, especially if you can get and upper deck front row seat.  Cashe and Harper a couple of years ago was awesome.

 

that was crazy how harper fought off that nearside cradle for like a minute and a half, thats tough wrestling

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I am pretty sure the Big 3 Holiday tournaments everyone compares are the Al Smith, Mater  Dei, and Connersville.  I have been to 2 of the 3 (Al Smith and Mater Dei) and wrestled in 1 ( Al Smith).  I would say that the caliber of teams overall has to go to Al Smith.  Mater Dei is tough tourney but I just did not feel the same atmosphere down there that the Al Smith provides.  There are always great suprises, big upsets, breakout wrestlers, and possible previews of State Final matches at the Al Smith.  I believe there are less wrestlers who have won the Al Smith 4 times than wrestlers have won State 4 times!  32 Teams, full wrestlebacks, and usually an excellent run tournament getting out of there at a decent hour on the second day.  Wrestling fans could not ask for much more that the Al Smith provides for two days.  I guess if I had one complaint it would be the split gym format on the first day, but that is nit picking.  Looking forward to making it out there and observing some great wrestling for the first time this year.

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I am pretty sure the Big 3 Holiday tournaments everyone compares are the Al Smith, Mater  Dei, and Connersville.  I have been to 2 of the 3 (Al Smith and Mater Dei) and wrestled in 1 ( Al Smith).  I would say that the caliber of teams overall has to go to Al Smith.  Mater Dei is tough tourney but I just did not feel the same atmosphere down there that the Al Smith provides.  There are always great suprises, big upsets, breakout wrestlers, and possible previews of State Final matches at the Al Smith.  I believe there are less wrestlers who have won the Al Smith 4 times than wrestlers have won State 4 times!  32 Teams, full wrestlebacks, and usually an excellent run tournament getting out of there at a decent hour on the second day.  Wrestling fans could not ask for much more that the Al Smith provides for two days.  I guess if I had one complaint it would be the split gym format on the first day, but that is nit picking.  Looking forward to making it out there and observing some great wrestling for the first time this year.

 

I may be incorrect on this, but I believe that Randy Baker(Bellmont) might be the only 4 time Al Smith champ, and he didn't win state.

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I may be incorrect on this, but I believe that Randy Baker(Bellmont) might be the only 4 time Al Smith champ, and he didn't win state.

 

I believe you are correct. Still think he should get his own page in the program.

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Kids like Nick Weisjahn burst onto the scene when he gave Eric Galka his first high school loss there.  Or when Drake Stein came out of nowhere to win it two years ago and instantly people are asking "who is this kid?"  There are many more examples, but those two are two that recently stick out to me. 

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With the Princeton and Bellmont crowds mixing in that corner of the gym over the last few years, it was really cool to see Stein's run that year.

 

A lot of Bellmont people were rooting for Stein to win state last year because of the Al Smith

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I've never been to the al davis (what my son and I mistakenly called the tournament when we moved to indiana some years ago  :)) but I believe the reason it's so great is because youve got some of the best wrestlers in the state squaring off and they are letting it all hang out.  conseco usually results in some boring matches because the kids become so conservative the further they get in the post season (certainly there are exceptions but I'm talking about the norm). 

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Always a great Tourney. I have seen a few kids lose at this tourney and end up taking the title in Febuary.  I think that says quite a bit about it.

 

I think has happened quite a few times.  Didn't John Sheets lose at this tourney as a freshman then go on to win state at 103.

 

I think there are numerous stories like this.  This tourney is the best in the state. 

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Kids like Nick Weisjahn burst onto the scene when he gave Eric Galka his first high school loss there.  Or when Drake Stein came out of nowhere to win it two years ago and instantly people are asking "who is this kid?"  There are many more examples, but those two are two that recently stick out to me. 

I remember the first time I went and Joey Smith from Mish finished 2nd and it was all a buzz that this was his 1st varstiy tournament. very cool

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