Toys 4 Tots wrestling tourney at LHS

Published 10:28 pm Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On the mat: Lakeland’s Alex Sari wrestles a Hermitage opponent during last December’s Mike Duman Toys 4 Tots Holiday Invitational at Lakeland. Eighteen schools will be in action Wednesday and Thursday in this year’s tournament.

Lakeland’s 2nd Annual Mike Duman Toys 4 Tots Holiday Invitational wrestling tournament gets going Wednesday at 3 p.m. with 18 squads in action during the two-day tourney.

The Cavaliers are welcoming Bayside, Bethel, Carroll County, Churchland, Cosby, Currituck, Gloucester, Grafton, Great Bridge, Hampton, Northampton, Norview, Oscar Smith, Princess Anne, Smithfield, Tabb and Tallwood.

This is the fourth straight year Lakeland’s hosted a wrestling tournament just before Christmas.

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“This is the toughest invitational tournament we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Lakeland head coach John Bostwick. “In some of the weight classes we have some of the top-ranked wrestlers in the state for those classes.”

The tournament is a double-elimination format for individual wrestlers, but with team scoring. It’s similar to the district, regional and state tournaments coming up.

Bostwick wants the annual event to continue growing into a 32-team field. Some other holiday-time wrestling events around the region have stopped. Bostwick said he’s already receiving calls from schools wanting invites to next year’s tournament.

“We’ll probably outgrow Lakeland’s gym and need to move to King’s Fork because they have the larger gym and the auxiliary gym, which means more mats and more seating capacity,” Bostwick said.

“What can happen, if we bring an elite tournament here, is it’ll showcase Suffolk and local wrestlers, too. A tournament of a high caliber attracts college coaches and it helps your own kids as well,” Bostwick said.

Wednesday’s rounds start at 3 p.m. Thursday’s action is set to start at 10 a.m. with the final matches in each weight class set for 5 p.m.

Spectators who bring in a new toy to donate Toys 4 Tots on Wednesday will receive a discount on a two-day pass ticket.