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Faulkens view on Class Wrestling


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It doesn't matter if random fans remember who a "champion" is. It matters to the kids that win and their schools. High school athletics should not be about the wins and losses, it NEEDS to be about bu

In my opinion. Coaches encouraging kids to do one sport only is the biggest issue to why participation in all sports is down. 

Most people won't ever understand small school athletics. It's easy to say just work harder. I've been coaching small schools for 33 years. It's been a struggle for most of them. We don't have the sam

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41 minutes ago, Wrestling Scholar said:

From my analysis of your very colorful and pretty charts,  the two states with the most marked decrease are California and Indiana  (both single class states).   The other states with class wrestling seem more stable.

Thanks for the complement, those were the colors excel randomly picked.  Also I wasn't trying to use the chart to make an argument one way or the other.  I was just curious as to what the information would look like.

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22 hours ago, bomber_bob said:

Correct me if I'm wrong Matt, but what I think he's suggesting, and I agree, is that the numbers are not decreasing in New Jersey, who has a single-class system, and a comparable number of schools to IN. I think you have now rephrased what we are saying to "numbers are not growing" in these two states. The fact that NJ's numbers are holding steady could show that the sport is in a healthy spot, right now. 

 

But if our numbers are decreasing, and Jersey is holding steady, and both states have a comparable system, what is causing our numbers to decrease? Would classing it simply, increase numbers? 

 

I think @Antknee wrote something up last week that really resonated with me. We are also a 1A program that has seen a lot of growth in our numbers in the last 4-5 years. Team State has been HUGE for our program, but we have also put an emphasis on offseason wrestling, wrestling at out-of-season tournaments such as Frosh/Soph, ISWA, and I think will be making our first trip out to VA Beach with a few kids in April this spring. Our kids have bought-in to wrestling in the offseason. We do not have an academy in or near Rensselaer, we just open up our room for our kids and work. The closest Academies are RWA and Elite Academy (50-60 minutes), Midwest RTC (1.25 hours) and Contenders (1.5 hours). None of them are convenient, nor feasible options, yet we have seen growth in our small-school program. 

 

 

 

 

It is cool to see programs like yours work toward being successful. Proof is in the pudding. Put the work in to build it, the athletes will come. My program has come a long way from nothing and we fully expect to be a contender because of the work we are putting in to make our program fun, interesting, and competitive by utilizing the offseason with as much mat time as possible. 

 

I started am offseason tournament when I was at Jimtown. We brought in teams like Brownsburg and others. I carried it over to Bremen, inviting teams like Brownsburg, Wawasee, FW Carroll, Franklin Central. We attend offseason tournaments, RWOs in our own room, other RTCs/RWOs. Midwest RTC recently opened up which is about 45 min from us. Midwest Xtreme opened not too long ago in the Mishawaka/South Bend area. There are opportunities out there, you just have to seize them. Again, it is not easy by any means. It takes passion, dedication, etc. Bremen is on the right path with parent and wrestler buy in. 

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13 hours ago, ENoblewrestling said:

I am against classing the individual tournament.  Every year the numbers statically show that there is no advantage to an individual in terms of making semi-state or state. 

From 09-18 (10 seasons) you had 5 state qualifications at a school with an enrollment of 350.

 

From 19-21 (3 seasons) you had 6 state qualifications (2 resulting in placements) at a school with an enrollment of 1180.

 

But you still don't think a higher enrollment provides any advantages? 

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15 minutes ago, Antknee said:

 

 

It is cool to see programs like yours work toward being successful. Proof is in the pudding. Put the work in to build it, the athletes will come. My program has come a long way from nothing and we fully expect to be a contender because of the work we are putting in to make our program fun, interesting, and competitive by utilizing the offseason with as much mat time as possible. 

 

I started am offseason tournament when I was at Jimtown. We brought in teams like Brownsburg and others. I carried it over to Bremen, inviting teams like Brownsburg, Wawasee, FW Carroll, Franklin Central. We attend offseason tournaments, RWOs in our own room, other RTCs/RWOs. Midwest RTC recently opened up which is about 45 min from us. Midwest Xtreme opened not too long ago in the Mishawaka/South Bend area. There are opportunities out there, you just have to seize them. Again, it is not easy by any means. It takes passion, dedication, etc. Bremen is on the right path with parent and wrestler buy in. 

I think its admirable what small schools like Rensalear Central, Bremen, North Posey, Garrett, Prairie Heights and others i might have had missed.  Obviously there's some positive leadership there with coaches that  energy and great knowledge.   But on the flip side,  Ive seen some small school programs be built, then the coach becomes very marketable to ADs looking for a good wrestling coach at a big school.   The coach most often leaves to the bigger program.  Cant blame them.  A lot of times the small schools are stepping stones.   I wont name names, but look at the resume's of the successful wrestling coaches and often you see they started with that small program.  Then an opportunity came, and these coaches have ambition and jump on the new opportunity.

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30 minutes ago, lanntp01 said:

From 09-18 (10 seasons) you had 5 state qualifications at a school with an enrollment of 350.

 

From 19-21 (3 seasons) you had 6 state qualifications (2 resulting in placements) at a school with an enrollment of 1180.

 

But you still don't think a higher enrollment provides any advantages? 

Ugh... I thought you were a math teacher. 

4 qualifiers with one being an alternate while a fighting turtle.

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6 minutes ago, Y2CJ41 said:

Ugh... I thought you were a math teacher. 

4 qualifiers with one being an alternate while a fighting turtle.

Oops, I counted Richards as one of his fighting turtle qualifiers but now going back and looking I see that that was the year before he took over.

 

Sooo....

 

From 09-18 (10 seasons) you had 4* state qualifications at a school with an enrollment of 350.

 

From 19-21 (3 seasons) you had 6 state qualifications (2 resulting in placements) at a school with an enrollment of 1180.

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Here are the small school references that I remember reading in this thread and their classification enrollment for this sports/school year:

Jimtown: 595

Garrett: 591

Bremen: 509

Renss Central: 498

North Posey: 450

Prairie Heights: 412

 

 

Here are the four smallest schools in our conference:

Pioneer: 288

Triton: 270

Culver Community: 239

Caston: 211

 

One of the issues that I think eludes a lot of people is exactly how small some of the small wrestling schools are. And if you look closely at the sports offerings of those four small schools, they're not as far behind the first six as one might think. Not to mention these are schools that have very active music, drama, FEA, etc. programs. Our conference even runs a math competition in April.

 

Using a school of about 500 (approx. median of the first six) as a reference for a school of about 250 (approx. median of bottom four) is not exactly understanding the situation. This sport will start to die when schools like Pioneer, Triton, Culver, and Caston have to cut programs. It won't be "THE" end, but it will be the beginning of the end. If you keep looking at the top, you won't even see it coming until it is too late.

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I am still trying to find the answer to my question, hopefully someone can answer.

 

At what point will there be acceptance that there is something wrong with our system and would lead you to being open to the radical idea of class wrestling?

1. Losing 25 programs
2. Losing 50 programs

3. Losing 100 programs

4. Participation dropping below 5000

5. Participation dropping below 4000

6. Forfeits to 1400(5 per team)
7. Forfeits to 2100(7 per team)

8. Never 

 

What is your tipping point to seeing that there is a problem that needs addressed?

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14 minutes ago, Galagore said:

One of the issues that I think eludes a lot of people is exactly how small some of the small wrestling schools are.

Prime example, when someone in another thread told you New Prairie was small.  The school has been around 950-975 for the past 7 years. Which firmly puts it in the upper 2A range for wrestling.

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Just now, Jam said:

Prime example, when someone in another thread told you New Prairie was small.  The school has been around 950-975 for the past 7 years. Which firmly puts it in the upper 2A range for wrestling.

 

Bingo. And I intentionally didn't even put them on the list due to the ridiculousness of them being put in that category.

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OK there are always 2 different arguments (possibly more) going on at the same time

 

1. Do we want to increase participation in the state?  I would argue that there are also large schools (Pike, for example) that do not have large wrestling squads - but that doesn't seem to be the target

2. Are we targeting more state-level qualifiers from the smaller schools, or would higher quantity of JV-level wrestlers be a success?

3. Do we expect some sort of even spread of talent across all schools??  I would contend that even in those states that have classes wrestling, there are powerhouse schools.

 

I frequently see how large schools account for disproportional number of qualifiers in Indiana - but is it really *ALL* large schools?  I am guessing that it is not - it's mostly a dozen or fewer (EMD, Perry, Cathedral, Crown Point, etc) that have a really strong program from youth to HS and dominate at the semistate and up level.  Do they have an advantage over other large schools - absolutely!  Do I think low-performing large schools should start another division so that their kids can advance and subsequently bring more into the program?

 

I think you would end up with the same thing in a 2 class system - powerhouses that dominate most of the placements.  I think baby steps are a better approach - i like the idea of shared practices and this could be a good place to start

 

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3 hours ago, HornetPride said:

 

It has to do with population, its been a while since I saw the actual numbers but it's something like 50% of all Indiana students go to 3A (wrestling team state) schools, so it makes sense they represent 50% of the state tournament field. 

 

Yes, it is more likely that a state qualifier level kid will come from Carmel (2000+ kids) than it is he will come from Angola (~900 kids). But the chances that any randomly selected INDIVIDUAL will be a state level kid is the same regardless where they are from. It is an individual tournament after all, so this is not a good argument. 

If it is not a good argument then why do the numbers in terms of qualifiers mirror the numbers of the general population pretty much every year? Is it just  coicidental?

 

3 hours ago, Clint Gard said:

Now add 4A Football Schools and see what happens.  If anyone truly believes this statement, "Every year the numbers statically show that there is no advantage to an individual in terms of making semi-state or state.", is true, then it's not possible to have a meaningful conversation.

Id like to think we can have a fair conversation.  The % of qualifiers in each group almost always mirrors the % of the total population each group makes up.  I feel that is what you would expect.

Some people believe that fairness would be shown if 12% (Small school population) of the population made up 33% of the qualifiers.  I personally do not think that makes any sense, but to each their own i guess.

 

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Just now, ENoblewrestling said:

 

 

If it is not a good argument then why do the numbers in terms of qualifiers mirror the numbers of the general population pretty much every year? Is it just  coicidental?

 

 

Because entries are limited for the state tournament. If they allowed 30 state entries how would that affect the numbers? 

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1 hour ago, lanntp01 said:

Oops, I counted Richards as one of his fighting turtle qualifiers but now going back and looking I see that that was the year before he took over.

 

Sooo....

 

From 09-18 (10 seasons) you had 4* state qualifications at a school with an enrollment of 350.

 

From 19-21 (3 seasons) you had 6 state qualifications (2 resulting in placements) at a school with an enrollment of 1180.

I think that each of these indivduals would have had a simlar oppurtunity to make it to and place if they were at Busco, or East Noble.

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My argument used to be about fairness, but now it is about keeping the sport alive (hopefully some day growing it). Even if a big school does not have a lot of success, chances are they will retain a program. This is true not just of wrestling, but of any program. It is much more likely that a smaller school chooses to cut a program that hasn't had a lot of success, especially if said program is only impacting a half dozen students.

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9 minutes ago, ENoblewrestling said:

If it is not a good argument then why do the numbers in terms of qualifiers mirror the numbers of the general population pretty much every year? Is it just  coicidental?

I believe we are arguing the same side here though I may not have made my point very clearly. qualifiers mirroring population in an individual tournament should be the goal in my mind.

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2 minutes ago, Galagore said:

My argument used to be about fairness, but now it is about keeping the sport alive (hopefully some day growing it). Even if a big school does not have a lot of success, chances are they will retain a program. This is true not just of wrestling, but of any program. It is much more likely that a smaller school chooses to cut a program that hasn't had a lot of success, especially if said program is only impacting a half dozen students.

If the goal is to grow the sport then why not let everyone enter the state tournament regardless of varsity/JV status? Seems like allowing everyone at Carmel the chance to compete could help them grow to a 100+ man roster fairly easily. That would go a long way towards increasing participation number. 

 

to be clear, I don't actually think this is a great idea, I simply point it out to make the point that you aren't actually focused on increasing overall participation so much as you are focused on increasing small school participation

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8 minutes ago, HornetPride said:

If the goal is to grow the sport then why not let everyone enter the state tournament regardless of varsity/JV status? Seems like allowing everyone at Carmel the chance to compete could help them grow to a 100+ man roster fairly easily. That would go a long way towards increasing participation number. 

 

to be clear, I don't actually think this is a great idea, I simply point it out to make the point that you aren't actually focused on increasing overall participation so much as you are focused on increasing small school participation

 

You are correct, that is what I am focusing on. If Carmel increases to 100+, that doesn't stop our state from losing dozens of small school programs. Losing those programs is the first step toward losing the sport in our state.

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24 minutes ago, ENoblewrestling said:

I think that each of these indivduals would have had a simlar oppurtunity to make it to and place if they were at Busco, or East Noble.

But that’s the thing...they weren’t at Busco.  In three years you’ve sent 6 to state at EN.  I’d bet you send another 12-20 in the next 7 years.  Let’s say you only send another 12.  That’s 18 qualifiers in 10 years.  You had 4 at Busco in 10 years.  You cannot tell me going to a school almost 4x larger doesn’t make a difference.  

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39 minutes ago, base said:

OK there are always 2 different arguments (possibly more) going on at the same time

 

1. Do we want to increase participation in the state?  I would argue that there are also large schools (Pike, for example) that do not have large wrestling squads - but that doesn't seem to be the target

2. Are we targeting more state-level qualifiers from the smaller schools, or would higher quantity of JV-level wrestlers be a success?

3. Do we expect some sort of even spread of talent across all schools??  I would contend that even in those states that have classes wrestling, there are powerhouse schools.

 

I frequently see how large schools account for disproportional number of qualifiers in Indiana - but is it really *ALL* large schools?  I am guessing that it is not - it's mostly a dozen or fewer (EMD, Perry, Cathedral, Crown Point, etc) that have a really strong program from youth to HS and dominate at the semistate and up level.  Do they have an advantage over other large schools - absolutely!  Do I think low-performing large schools should start another division so that their kids can advance and subsequently bring more into the program?

 

I think you would end up with the same thing in a 2 class system - powerhouses that dominate most of the placements.  I think baby steps are a better approach - i like the idea of shared practices and this could be a good place to start

 

1. Participation numbers are dropping sharply, yes we need to increase participation. Per this year's data 1A teams have an average of 5.07 forfeits, 2A has 3.65, 3A, 2.46, and 4A has 1.26. So saying here is Pike who has a small roster and trying to compare it to the 108 1A teams that only average 9 kids on their final roster is disingenuous. 

 

2. More kids getting a taste of success is good for the sport. More kids getting to the ticket round or first round of state... heck even getting to regional are good things for programs and the kids themselves. Dangling that carrot in front of them isn't a bad thing.

 

3. No there will always be teams that rise to the top. That's no different in class or no class. That's not a bad thing at all to have teams with success.

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7 minutes ago, Y2CJ41 said:

1. Participation numbers are dropping sharply, yes we need to increase participation. Per this year's data 1A teams have an average of 5.07 forfeits, 2A has 3.65, 3A, 2.46, and 4A has 1.26. So saying here is Pike who has a small roster and trying to compare it to the 108 1A teams that only average 9 kids on their final roster is disingenuous. 

Well we were focusing on state qualifiers, so thought that success at that level had become the new hurdle - sounds like you are talking more about straight participation numbers, filling lineups and keeping programs alive. Two very different discussions

 

Enough bantering and arguing about something that is likely not going to happen (class individual wrestling).  I'm not totally opposed to it so if you can pull it off - great.  But in the meantime off the top of my head - here's what I would try if I were the coach at a smaller school that has very low turnout. I have no experience as a HS coach so maybe I'm crazy on some of these points

  • Get a plan together - HS head coach gets other like-minded parents who are willing to give of their time to make the improvements happen.  Get some ideas on paper instead of just winging it and hoping it will work out
  • Start at the youth level.  Work like crazy at social media, word of mouth, and local paper to get a small, tight-knit group of kids that have interest in the sport
  • If the HS coach doesn't have the time to run the youth program in the offseason and be really involved, then find others who will.  Have to be willing to let go of control
  • With that youth group, I think it is extremely important to have a great coordinator/communicator that is probably not the coach(es)
  • Plan some social activities so that the kids and the parents can bond
  • Take the kids to either local friendship meets with other clubs, or target a few beginner tournaments - highlight takedown attempts instead of placements
  • Feed stories to your local newspaper. A kid's name in the paper can go a LONG way
  • Look for local business that might sponsor your club and donate some $$ towards club shirts or even singlets
  • After the freestyle season ends, keep in touch!  Social media, hangouts, etc. Have to start making it feel like a squad. Coaches should go watch kids do other activities
  • Get the kids to wear cool shirts, hats, stickers or other visual signs to let other kids know there is a group that is fun and they want to be a part of
  • If there are kids that are excelling and they have the interest to really push more, refer them to a local academy for more advanced training
  • Involve any interested kids from the HS and Junior high to help give some pointers to the youth kids. The little wrestlers really look up to the teens and it will keep the teens involved and interested. Those teens will turn into future local parents in many cases - and your source for 2nd and 3rd generation wrestlers!

 

Regardless of success or not, I think teambuilding is one of the most overlooked activities - and in my opinion that camaraderie will build and retain teammates far better than the lure of a small school division trophy. Although I do understand that adding patches for Sectional Champ, etc are also definitely a motivator

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3 minutes ago, base said:

Well we were focusing on state qualifiers, so thought that success at that level had become the new hurdle - sounds like you are talking more about straight participation numbers, filling lineups and keeping programs alive. Two very different discussions

 

 

They are in the same discussion, if a school isn't fielding a full roster consistently it can and will lead to the discontinuation of their program. At some point administrations will cut ties due to lack of success even fielding a decent number of athletes. 

 

The state qualifier and forfeit numbers both show how different the level of wrestling is at the small school level.

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