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Ed Pendoski

Indiana's 'middle class' in wrestling

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I wanted to throw an idea out and see what others thought.......

 

I have read most of the 'class wrestling' vs 'one class' discussions here over the years and I can see the pros and cons of both sides of the argument.  (I also understand that we coach in the largest school in the state)

 

Right after I started CIA, I remember going to see a big 32 team tourney over winter break to see the finals of kids that trained with us.  I remember looking over to mat 4 and seeing the wrestling for 7th and 8th and then my opinion on class wrestling changed.  Seeing the level of wrestling for 8th place of a 32 team tourney means that there were hypothetically 24 guys worse than the guy getting 8th.  At that moment, my opinion of adding class wrestling moved in favor of starting class wrestling (as long as it keeps our state tourney in Bankers Life...but that's a different story).

 

If smaller schools had a chance for success against other smaller schools, I can only image that they'd go back to school, pronounce themselves as Sectional champions and get some notoriety in the school and making it more attractive for others to participate and hopefully that would help 'snowball' into a more solid program over time.

 

I believe that the top 10 percent of Indiana wrestling is as good as it's ever been in our state's history, and the bottom 10% is still the bottom 10%.  What can we do to make sure the 'middle class' of Indiana wrestling is also getting better?  Class wrestling could be something that could help.

 

Then my thought went to JV teams wrestling in varsity tournaments.  This year Carmel sent their JV to a varsity tourney for the first time.  They finished 7th in a 16 team tourney and had 1 champ.  We were happy for them to have some quality matches.  But if the top 10% of Indiana's teams (I'm definitely saying we're top 10%) didn't send their JV teams to varsity tourneys, wouldn't that leave a place for other teams to have success?

 

....and if nobody sent their JV to varsity tourneys, wouldn't that mean that we could get better JV tourneys because they would be looking for tough JVs to compete against? 

 

I guess my question is that if we all stopped sending JVs to varsity tourneys, wouldn't it open up places for Indiana's 'middle class' programs to have more success?  I'm thinking if we all stopped sending JV's to varsity tourneys it would be a baby step towards class wrestling and it would make opportunities to have better true JV matches.

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Mater Dei has sent their JV to a small tournament we go to the past three years and have won it each year with several champions.  All the teams that attend would be 1,2, and 3A in football and most don't have a full lineup.  Years ago, Mater Dei had a state placer on JV...maybe Nosko? or around the time he was in school.  

 

 

Anyways, I think sending JV teams to tournaments is a great idea.  Instead of a bye or FF, now that spot is filled with a wrestler.  The JV teams of the top 10% can beat the Varisty teams of the bottom...20-40% of teams.  It also gives the JV kids a chance to say, "hey maybe I can't win a varsity spot for Carmel, but I just won a championship in a varsity tournament with 16 teams". 

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But isn't that the argument of why we shouldn't send JV to varsity tourney?

 

If the 1a, 2a, 3a schools don't have a full lineup, I'm sure losing to MD's JV isn't something attractive to the athletic football kid who is on the fence about wrestling or not.  

 

The only team that benefits from sending JV to varsity would be the programs in the top 10% and it comes at the cost of the middle/lower class of our state's programs.


.....and please don't mention the name Nosko.  That guy crushed us in matches that mattered at team state two years in a row!  ha!

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But isn't that the argument of why we shouldn't send JV to varsity tourney?

 

If the 1a, 2a, 3a schools don't have a full lineup, I'm sure losing to MD's JV isn't something attractive to the athletic football kid who is on the fence about wrestling or not.  

 

The only team that benefits from sending JV to varsity would be the programs in the top 10% and it comes at the cost of the middle/lower class of our state's programs.

That is one of the issues we see, non-wrestling athletes are already concerned about not being good at it when you convince them to come out, then thay lose to a JV and it becomes a real struggle to keep them long enough to get them confident.

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But isn't that the argument of why we shouldn't send JV to varsity tourney?

 

If the 1a, 2a, 3a schools don't have a full lineup, I'm sure losing to MD's JV isn't something attractive to the athletic football kid who is on the fence about wrestling or not.  

 

The only team that benefits from sending JV to varsity would be the programs in the top 10% and it comes at the cost of the middle/lower class of our state's programs.

.....and please don't mention the name Nosko.  That guy crushed us in matches that mattered at team state two years in a row!  ha!

Good point...I agree

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Two points

 

1. What has prompted events to allow JV teams in the first place? Is it the lack of full teams or do we have way too many events in the first place? I know in our case we get asked late in the fall when teams realize they will need another team for their event and can't fill it.

 

2. This is really a case of the rich get richer. Our kids now get a year or two of about 15 varsity level matches before becoming a varsity A wrestler. This helps us tremendously as there is very little adjustment from JV to varsity for our new starters.

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I, for one, get irritated when I see JV scores against varsity guys. The varsity guy can't win in that situation. If he loses, he has to hear how he lost to another team's JV guy. If he wins, same story. There are plenty of schools in the state looking to get matches for their JV. Why not get a JV schedule with other JV teams - instead of going to tournaments and embarrassing programs with varsity wrestlers that aren't as good?

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I, for one, get irritated when I see JV scores against varsity guys. The varsity guy can't win in that situation. If he loses, he has to hear how he lost to another team's JV guy. If he wins, same story. There are plenty of schools in the state looking to get matches for their JV. Why not get a JV schedule with other JV teams - instead of going to tournaments and embarrassing programs with varsity wrestlers that aren't as good?

Let's put the shoe on the other foot now. We all know that the top 10% has JV kids that could go deep into the state series. What good does it do for them to go to a regular JV meet and throttle JV kids? That isn't going to help the sport either is it?

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Joe, you're using an extreme  to help decide what is best for the middle.  Sure, there are a handful of kids that are not varsity and if they were put in the right situation and semi state draw, they could compete at the state tourney.....but that's not typical.

 

Wouldn't there be better quality at JV tourneys if no one was sending JV to varsity tourneys?

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Are there enough JV tournaments throughout the state?  Would there need to be an increase?

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From the title I really thought the focus would be on how e can help the "middle class" (economy wise) who don't have access to and/or can afford the academies and the off season national event circuit.  I though there is some merit to that discussion, since often is the divide between the top 10% and the rest.

 

But it started with class options and now has a focus on Varsity 2.  Seems like some decent Pro's and Con's about Varsity 2 teams, but I think some of it seem to be regionally based. Some areas of the state just have schools more closer together than other which should help in organizing many more JV opportunities.

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Some top programs have a varsity 1 and varsity 2, right?  They usually wrestle their varsity 2's against like varsity teams, don't they?

 

That's correct.  But if a top 10th percentile school sends their JV (you can call it whatever you want) to a tourney that have the 50th percentile level teams (middle class of our state), we're taking away a chance for the opportunity for success at a local tourney.

 

If we said that we should have 18 varsity appearances (or weigh in points) for each school, it would take our JVs out of varsity tournament (more chance of success for the mid level guy/school) and it would make JV tourneys more competitive for the top 10% cause you would include those 30 JV teams back into the population of JV tournaments.

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Joe, you're using an extreme  to help decide what is best for the middle.  Sure, there are a handful of kids that are not varsity and if they were put in the right situation and semi state draw, they could compete at the state tourney.....but that's not typical.

 

Wouldn't there be better quality at JV tourneys if no one was sending JV to varsity tourneys?

I'm talking regional and semi-state level kids, not necessarily the extreme state qualifier or placer level kids.

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Sure there are kids at elite programs that are going to be very good at the JV level. But I would think if it were a JV tourney, the competing schools would all be relatively deep and have pretty good kids.

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Ed,

 

Would you say that most of the events you send your Varsity B team to are bigger school events? I guess what I'm getting at is most of the, "middle class," programs would not attend the big school events as they fear getting throttled. Personally, I like that Carmel, Penn, Brownsburg, etc. have varsity B teams to compete against not only to fill events but for most of my guys, the competition is on par with where they are at. 

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This year was the first year that we sent our JV to a varsity event.

 

Maybe the next question is: does Indiana have too many tournaments scheduled?  If there are 300ish schools that have a team, do we need 320 potential tournaments openings per weekend?

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I'm not sure I see why this is a problem. In the end, the goal is to get the JV kids as many matches as possible, right? If they're good enough to be competitive against starters from another school, why not give them a shot? I know when I was an underclassmen, we had some solid JV kids who likely could've been starting at many of the nearby schools.

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Sure there are kids at elite programs that are going to be very good at the JV level. But I would think if it were a JV tourney, the competing schools would all be relatively deep and have pretty good kids.

I've seen our 2nd team kids at JV events. It's no fun for them, nor their opponents in most cases.

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The one think I've noticed in general and has been hinted at in this thread is that our JV wrestlers need opportunities to complete.  They need this not only to get better, but to also keep their interest in the sport alive.  No one wants to practice hard week in and week out just to wrestle a small number of matches a year and in some cases most of them were against the same team/wrestler.  Whatever option creates these opportunities to keep the kids improving and coming out is a positive in my book.  If the topics morphed into a JV discussion then it should focus on how we can get our JV wrestlers as much mat time as possible each week. 

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Coaching at a 3A non power school, it is very hard to get kids out to start with. Then if we wrestle a JV team from a top 10% school it makes it harder when you get beat. I am not sure there is a true great way to fix it. We all want the numbers to go in the other direction, so convos like this one are a good start.

 

I also know that some coaches will throw out a full JV against our 6-8 exhibition matches before a varsity dual and show it as a "JV win". You took 6-8 forfeits, not sure when that became the norm either. 


Our JV kids all ended up with at least 15 matches competing in just JV invites or finding matches at varsity duals and invites. 

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I’ve wondered over the last year about having classes NOT based upon school size.  Instead, have a two class tournament: Pre-college and Athletes.  The Pre-college class would be for wrestlers who are serious about attempting to wrestle in college.  The athlete class would be for kids who just want to wrestle for the enjoyment of the sport, but have no interest in collegiate wrestling. 

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The JV kids for the teams that can field 2 or more full teams are often better than half of the varsity wrestlers in the state. (hence why the 2nd teams from these programs win more than they lose) It's not just because they go to a bigger school with a bigger room, and better coaching (although these don't hurt), but because they wrestle in the off season. So to exclude those multi-season JV wrestlers to the benefit of the not-so-good varsity kids who don't put the same level of time into it, seems contradictory to the stated purpose. "Hey kid, I know you worked hard all year to get better (and have) but you couldn't crack the lineup so now you've got to wrestle JV matches against kids who aren't in the same stratosphere as you skill wise." Have fun with that.

 

I imagine running 3 teams has had a huge boost in the retention rate of kids at programs like Penn and Perry, and it's had negative effects on programs who have had the depth to run multiple teams but have chosen not to. Look no one wants to be JV (although we can't all be varsity) and by disguising the JV as a second varsity team (getting real varsity matches), it gives the kids pride.

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Schools that are fortunate enough to fill 2 or more teams are probably more concerned about getting them an event to wrestle in more so than getting them in "varsity" meets.  Are very many of the top 10% creating marquee JV opportunities? The DAC puts on a JV conference tournament, and it's pretty competitive.  I know that at least one big NWI school that had previously allowed our JV to enter did not want them this year.  Rumor had it that other teams participating were not comfortable with it and threatened to bail.  It would make sense to have the top 10% take turns hosting marquee JV events for similar schools, but I'm not sure that the potential travel involved would fly with AD's and travel budgets.

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