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Grass isn't always Greener on the Other Side..


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What's everyone's thoughts on the change from Merrillville to East Chicago? How did you like the venue? No crossover under the lights? Wrestling didn't last late into the night this year. Things time wise seemed to run smoother.

 

I was able to watch on region wrestling and they provided great videos all day long. Thanks for the great quality!

 

The purple hulk was a beast today!

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Still some great memories from mville. But today EC did a fantastic job delivering a quality product. With a large set of seats that could have seated another 1500 rolled up to allow for video and pics on the front side and warmups on the back side, there was still plenty of room for everyone to spread out. Just a real nice flow to the tournament from every perspective. And done by 6:30!! Great job by all the EC Central folks.

 

Thank You!!

Edited by MCKAJC
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Sure EC coach Paul Chandler deserves big props too.

Showed a cool video before finals. Plenty of room for fans in the gym, and wrestlers to get comfy outside of the gym.

Atmosphere for finals at Merrillville was always outstanding but the event outgrew that venue a long time ago. Keeping 4 mats during semis was nice at EC. In time, I believe the presentation will improve for finals at EC. I know everyone wants to see good spotlights over centermats for the finals presentation, intros and matches. Maybe even pull out that bottom row of bleachers for finals.

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I thought they should of pulled out the eastside bleachers. The capacity was great but you run into the problem if you had to sit on the north or Southside bleachers then you could only see half of the wrestling. Even for the finals if you sat on either of those sides you were only able to see the championship match or 3rd and 4th place match. The parking lot was at capacity about 30 min. Before the 1st round. You couldn't really hear the speakers in the gym. I thought the only thing that was better than merrillville was the seating capacity.

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East Chicago > Mville

Seriously, if the only thing you can complain about is a friggin spotlight, then I'd say you're stretching.

East Chicago was 100% better than Mville!

The EC hosting staff actually treated fans and wrestlers and coaches nicely. Those were some of the most kind people I've ever encountered at a major event. They ran the whole thing much faster than years past. Plenty of seating. I guess the sound system could be a little better, but it wasn't any big deal.

 

Great job EC! And this change was LONG overdue.

Edited by InTheCircle
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Concur. A vast improvement. I get the issues with bleachers but it was nice for fans to get to the podium for pics and for participants to have room down there. The staff was fabulous especially the fact that they didn't play bag police.

 

And my Uber driver was fabulous! I didn't think $100 was too much to get to the Dunkin?? Of course leaving me there wasn't very nice...

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No complaints, but yes. A crossover under the lights would of been nice. Lol but it's not the end of the world

 

I know it was their first year. I did say that things seemed to run very smooth and like Mckajc said, wrestling was done by 6:30!? That's unheard of...

 

Great job to EC -- maybe in years to come minor tweaks here and there can really make the venue better than it already is.

 

Excited for our region guys to represent next weekend!

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Seating was. Great, concession stands were great. My only complaint was the way the semis were run. I go there to watch good wrestling. Semis were much better run on 2 mats. Can't watch 4 matches at. Same time. 1 of the mats were having152lbers, while another mat heavy weight at same time. Big deal that it finished ear ly, while you weren't able to follow the semis the way we were used to. I hope they return to the 2 mats afte r 2nd round

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Growing up a Region guy and a product of the old Indiana Lake Shore Conference, I was happy to see the Semi State not leave the Region and for selfish reasons move closer to home for me.  However, I am and always will be in favor of doing what's best for the sport and well as the fans.  This being said, I had a few concerns with moving it to East Chicago.  I too had some fond memories of Merrillvillle, but believe the tournament had grown to large for the facility.  Kudos to Merrillville for the the years of service to our sport and for doing the best they could with what they had.  Going into yesterday, here were a few of my concerns...

1.) Overall organization
2.) Location not being close to hotels and more obvious eateries

3.) Spectator view of mats

4.) Length of tournament 

 

I'm a realist and open-minded, but there aren't many times I'm as impressed as I was yesterday from the second I walked in the doors.  The immediate smiles and service we received at the door made a positive impact and set the mood for the day.  They did not over complicate things nor did I get the sense every step I took was being monitored and controlled.  I'm a firm believer of having structure and direction, but they combined that with lots of friendly smiles and a very relaxed atmosphere...I felt the positive energy throughout the whole facility all day.  

Second, they kept the focus on the goal at hand...run the tournament effectively and efficiently with as few mishaps as possible.  I thought it ran as smoothly as I've seen a large scale tournament run in years.  With limited break time and a short lunch, this kept people from having to worry about where to go to eat.  I thought concessions did the best they could...this combined with wrestlers and families having plenty of experience not going hungry, I'm sure everyone survived.  For those needing hotels, I'm sure they figured that out.  
 

The set up was accommodating to all...plenty of room for wrestlers, coaches, and officials on the floor and more room than was actually needed upstairs for the fans.  All four mats were visible for every available seat in the house, and if you wanted a different view there was plenty of space and freedom to move around to satisfy that.  

For their first year and length of tournament being a major issue in the past...East Chicago handled this particular concern perfectly.  Mad props to the host school, the coordinators, the volunteers, and everyone in attendance for exceeding all expectations in this area.  Impressive.

Overall, the only glitch was the presentation of the finals...an easy fix.  Some things are just trial and error, and I'm positive this will be corrected.  
 

Scale 1-10...I'm giving East Chicago an 8.5.  And as always, I'm giving the quality of wresting in the Northwest corner a 10.  

Thanks for a great overall experience East Chicago...I'm already excited for next year

Edited by notapillowbiter
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Having grown up in the region and attending the merr. semis for as long as I can remember, I really enjoyed the new venue, great wrestling as usual, and I have to believe that any small complaints anyone could have will be hashed out in the future. This is a huge event and for their first go around I have to give props to the organizers and volunteers. (not just saying that cause my daughter was one of the workers :)

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Thoughts on the switch from Merrillville to East Chicago:

 

 

PRO's 

 

1. Guarantee of having a seat at anytime of the day/evening when you walked in. 

 

2. The overall layout of tournment; building, easy access to concessions, bathrooms, programs, tickets, etc.

 

3. Efficiency of the way the tournament was run, and the professionalism of the staff. Everyone "volunteering" was extremely polite and accommodating. 

 

4. Allowing wrestlers to have a designated space to warm up, thus not having to walk over wrestlers or cramped in-between while in transit to designation. 

 

 

Areas of Improvement

 

1. Sound system - I noticed when the gentlemen sang the National Anthem you could hear him clearly as he was standing in the center of the mat. However all throughout the day, (not just the finals) it was very difficult to decipher what was being said from the announcement table over the speakers. 

 

2. In agreement with the previous post about rolling out the other side bleachers that was not rolled out. In the 1st and 2nd round (when the most spectators were present) you could not see about a 1/3rd of the two mats no matter which side you were on. There is no reason for all 4 to be rolled out, but possibly tuck away one of the sections that were both rolled out across from one another. 

 

3. Parking lot space was at a minimum. I know not much can done about this, except maybe some signs that says something to the effect of overflow parking on streets is authorized. When we parked in front of peoples homes we were unsure if it was an issue or not. 

 

4. Being as there is very little intermission time (which I like, as I'm sure most do), would it be possible to maybe have Zel's make X amount of Roast Beef sandwiches to either take replace Pizza or Hot Dogs. Maybe I'm alone but overall I just feel like this is a heartier choice while at a tournament for 10 hours. I feel that it would add a little uniqueness to this venue.

 

 

 

 I hope this feed back that I am posting is beneficial, there is no way to please everyone including myself, just laying some ideas out there. I would have to say after complaining about Merrillville venue for the past 10+ years, there is a huge part of me that misses it. And that came when it was time for the finals, the distance and the spot light from a spectator point of view took something out of the equation. With that being said for me its literally six one way and half-dozen the other. 

 

 

 

 

In closing another great day of Wrestling, and a Thank you to all that gave up there Saturday to put this Semi-State together and to make sure it ran smoothly.

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East Chicago did well running this event.  They have a big gym, and you need that for something this big.    You don't know what problems you have until you run something.   East Chicago has a year of experience under its belt and should improve next year.  

 

I think the problems were mentioned already.    The concession stand selection was a little sparse,  the speaker system was difficult to hear and it would have been cool to turn out the lights.    Since East Chicago is running this event for the foreseeable future,  maybe it would be a good idea to invest in a couple mat spot lights.

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They give all gate revenue to IHSAA? But keep all concession revenue??

They get concession revenue.   I think the IHSAA gets the gate revenue,  but   pays the host school a fixed reimbursement amount for the  costs of  running the tournament.

Edited by Wrestling Scholar
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If the biggest complaint is they didn't turn off the lights then it was a good event. I still am baffled by how fascinated we are with lights being turned off.

It's what we have grown up with watching the champions battle it out under the lights. I for one am a huge fan of it, whether it be on the state or national level. It's sometimes hard to put into words the feeling you get and try and explain said feelings to ones who have not been there.

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I enjoyed it much more at EC this year.  Only thing obvious to me as far as a glitch this year was the placement of the spot light during introductions.  Easy fix for next year.  That and my back was killing me (getting older) so I had to leave halfway through the finals.  That may not be an easy fix for next year.

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Location - Advantage Merrillville

Parking - Advantage Merrillville

Seating - BIG Advantage E.C

Sound System - Slight edge Merrillville

Pace of tournament (timing) - Big Advantage E.C.

Concessions - Tie

Championship match - Advantage Merrillville

Overall atmoshpere - Tie

 

I was really impressed on how smoothly things ran with this being the first year of EC hosting this event. There are a few things that need to be worked on, but that is very small in the grand scheme of things.  I look forward to this tournment being held here for years to come.

 

Things to work on:

* The sound system wasn't very good. There was a crackling sound/buzzing throughout the entire meet. (Especially if you sat on the Westside)

* The finals at Merrillville was really unique, because the fans were basically on top of the mat. It was very cool to be so close. Maybe  if the mats were pulled to the middle, both sets of lower bleachers can be pulled out?  Just a thought.

* Obviously, I am beating a dead horse, but the spotlight would have been cool. Not a necessity, but if it could be planned a little better for next year.

 

Please keep timing, pace, space, concessions. All were great! I think I speak for most when I say the space was the most enjoyable part.  I wasn't sitting on my neighbors lap.

 

Good job EC and all involved.

Edited by pjayroza
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Okay, this isn't going to be a very popular post ,but the second I heard that Merrilville was giving up the semi state I had a feeling I wasn't going to like the change.  I realize that some people don't like change and I guess I am no exception.  However, I have some pretty solid reasons why I didn't like the overall experience at ECC this past Saturday.  I thought the people at East Chicago did a great job.  The criticisms I have are not the fault of the great people that ran that tournament.  It has to be a challenging undertaking.  I didn't mind the parking situation because I am accustom to getting their early so parking was no problem for me.  I also didn't mind the extra 30 min it took to get there from Lafayette.  Having said that, I think one's opinion on how the change went had a lot to do with who you ask.  From a coaches and wrestler's point of view , I can see how it seemed a lot better.  The lower level was blocked off to all spectators and was enforced pretty well during the early rounds.  I truly get it that it is about the wrestlers and they should be the main focus.  However, from a fan's perspective it sucked pretty badly if you truly wanted to see the action.  I have gone to every semi state at Merrillville since it began.  I am a bit of a traditionalist, but I always appreciated that if you got to the venue early enough you could sit mat side and enjoy the action up close.  Yes it was always crowded for the first two rounds, but never bothered me because the wrestling environment was like nothing I have ever experienced.  I have always said that I enjoy the Merrilville semi state even more than the state finals when it comes to competitive environment.  I totally did not feel that this year.  It was very dull in comparison for me this year.  I was so frazzled by the time they had wrestled the 160 pound finals that I left early which I have never done before.  More room yes, but there were very few good seats.  You definitely had to be in the nose bleeds to see all 4 mats or you had to secure a railing on the side of the gym that they let you stand at the rail and watch, which is what I did but standing all day to see the wrestling sux at best.  Other things that I noticed that made it a poor experience for me personally include:  They ran the semi finals on 4 mats instead of just two mats like they do at Merrilville.  You need to slow that round down a bit to give people a chance to watch the best of the best.  It sucked to miss that much good wrestling just so you could save approximately 40 minutes.  And while I am talking about the semi finals, I might add that there was no good rhyme or reason to how the weight class were wrestled.  At one point they had 145 pounders wrestling at the same time 285 pounders were going at it.  It was absolutely impossible to follow the brackets.  The wrestling was all over the place.  The sound system was terrible,  I'm not picking on the announcer but that was not good either.  After the mats were broken down the lower level could have easily been opened up for spectators which could have been done for the semi finals like in past years at Merrilville because half of the crowd had gone home.  Okay the spot light breaking wasn't their fault, but that experience wasn't going too well even before the bulb broke.  Having said all of this I appreciated the efforts of the people of East Chicago Central.  It is not their fault that I will never be returning to the semi state again.  I think it would be way better to watch it streamed on the computer, At least then you can see the action up close and personal.  This had to be said, but again it is just one man's opinion.  

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East Chicago was great.  I loved it.  It was a vastly improved experience.  The East Chicago AD deserves a ton of credit.  His staff was all smiles and super nice to people.  Most of us are so used to constantly having that one woman's shrill voice yelling at us year after year at semi state that we would take anything.  But East Chicago exceed my expectations by a long way.

 

I for one loved wrestling the semis on all four mats.  East Chicago really had respect for people's time.  What time did we get out of there, like 6:30 or so?  If was very efficient.

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