Olderthandirt

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  1. Olderthandirt

    KY AA history and the future of Ky wrestling.

    JB.....totally agree. Combining the challenges that attending college alone presents someone, along with the time and requirements that competitive sports require, is a very tough road to hoe. You’ve really got to want it. Add in the need for most students to have some kind of job, and time management becomes critical to success. My hat is off to any and all that choose to compete in any sport on the collegiate level, especially those competing in the so called Olympic sports, where athletic scholarships are few and far between. Facts....who the heck is this Casey you keep addressing?
  2. Olderthandirt

    KY AA history and the future of Ky wrestling.

    As I tried to point out in another thread.....there are approximately 1500-2000 state high school champs that could potentially be entering college wrestling each year, plus thousands of other very successful high school wrestlers from around the US. Out of this huge pool, the people that actually do wrestle in college gets trimmed down to those who are truly dedicated to the sport. In most of the top colleges the teams are stocked with state champs and high level recruits, but only 1 of them can crack the starting lineup and compete for a chance to go to nationals. At this point, with 10 weight classes, only 80 out of a starting pool that numbers in the thousands will actually become and D-1 AA each year. D-2, D-3, and NAIA offer more opportunities to gain that status, but it’s still a very small % of high school wrestlers that ever go on to be AA at any level. play the lottery...your chances are better of actually winning something.
  3. Olderthandirt

    KY AA history and the future of Ky wrestling.

    Point I was making is that Ohio has a much larger pool of HS students from which HS wrestlers can come from. Many of whom concentrate on the Sport year round. There are 402 high schools in OHIO that have a wrestling team. There are 105 high schools in KENTUKY that are listed as having a team. And it’s not just the larger numbers of participants either. It’s how they are trained and coached, and how long the sport has been supported and popular in the state. Ohio wrestling is generational. I’m seeing kids wrestling today that are GRANDKIDS of people I knew when I was in high school. I’m 63 and when I look at recent results from matches and tournaments, I’m recognizing lots of last names. The top HS programs have facilities and budgets that many colleges would envy. I wonder how many of those Ohio AA’s have come through programs like Cleveland St. Edwards, St. Paris Graham, or Cincinnati Moeller? (Where I used to coach many years ago) These programs, and many other around the state, are located in, or close to, large metropolitan areas where the kids can train year round with top coaches and top kids from other schools. They can find a different open tournament to compete in almost every weekend during the spring and early summer. I used to go to (and later help run) a summer wrestling club at Cincinnati ST. X HS, where we would usually have 80-100 high school kids there 2-3 nights a week. And there were a couple of other high schools in Cincinnati doing the same thing at the same time. I went to summer tournaments in Ohio where I had upwards of 50 or more kids in my weight class, on a regular basis. And this was in Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus primarily. Cleveland and NE Ohio is just as large as those 3 areas combined. So not only do they have much larger numbers of participants. Those kids have the opportunities needed to make them great high school, and later college, wrestlers. Kentucky cant do much about getting bigger.....but there is a lot of room to improve in the latter.
  4. Olderthandirt

    KY AA history and the future of Ky wrestling.

    The question of what can be done to change this is multi-faceted. There is no single answer to that, anymore than there is a single answer to the question of how to become an AA? The simple answer is just....win enough matches at the nationals to place in the top 8. But the deeper answer must take into account an understanding of the differences between youth/HS wrestling in states like Ohio and Kentucky, and a realization of the differences just in the states themselves. i grew up in SW Ohio, went to HS and college there, taught HS and coached there, and 30 or so years ago moved to Kentucky. I love it here in KY and will never move back to Ohio. But things are different. Start with the facts that the population of states like Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, etc is much larger than the population of Kentucky. Add to that the fact that the overall education system in those states is better, and that a larger % of the kids graduate HS, and that a larger % of the graduates go on to college. They simply have a larger pool of youth and HS wrestler to begin with. A larger pool graduates from HS, and a larger number of them go on to college. Within those states there is more opportunities for those kids to remain in state and to find a college that has wrestling at the highest levels. Where as in those state you have schools that are members of the BiG 10 (the best college wrestling league in the country) or the Big 12 (the 2nd best) and the kids don’t have to leave home to find the top opportunities to wrestle in college, all that Kentucky has to offer is small college opportunities, and not a lot of them either. No disrespect to any of them, I am very thankful that they exist and support them fully, but it’s not the same as going to an OSU-Penn State match and wrestling on TV and in front of 16,000 fans. Lord that must be awesome! So first, UK and U of L need to bring back their wrestling programs, fully fund them, promote them, support them with top notch coaching staffs, and make it a point to compete at the highest level. Give the kids in KY something to aspire to and dream about. On the HS level, I also see the need for change. One of the things that I have noticed over the years is that by many coaches in KY there is too much emphasis placed on the regular season records. In the other states, the emphasis is on the state championships. For that reason, the other coaches seek out the best competition they can find, either in-state or out of state. They don’t pad regular season records. I’ve always said that people don’t remember if a kid goes undefeated during the regular season, they remember if they go undefeated at the state tournament. Use the regular season to prepare for the post season. Don’t treat the post season as an afterthought. Be willing to go out of state to compete, or to invite out of state competition to come here..In addition, Kentucky itself needs to do a better job of attracting and keeping the best HS coaches it can. Salaries, budgets, facilities, opportunities, and simply respect from the administrations all need to improve. I’ve seen far to many HS wrestling matches held in practice gyms or elementary school gyms, while the HS gym is sitting unused at the same time. I’ve seen to many wrestling “rooms” that are actually just unused classrooms or lunch rooms. If I’m a college wrestler that has decided to go into coaching after graduation, I’m probably going to take a job in a “wrestling” state over a “basketball” state. KY has really good HS basketball, people know it, administrations support it, and it attracts top young coaching talent. We won’t have top HS wrestling until we get better HS coaching staffs. We can’t do much about increasing the states popularion. We can do things to help improve the number of wrestlers in the state, the number of HS graduates in the state, the number of HS wrestlers that go on to college and wrestle, how those kids are prepared for college wrestling, and the number of opportunities that those kids have to wrestle in a KY college. But it’s not going to be easy, and it’s not going to be a quick result. Kentucky is about 50 years behind the northern states in much of this. I think the 1st step is to work to improve the youth and high school wrestling staffs. Put people into these positions that have the desire to see their kids go onto college wrestling careers, and will prepare them to do so. Only when that becomes normal and common will we see KY wrestlers excelling at the college level on a regular basis.