Wrestlers flock to NRHS Toys for Tots event

Published 10:54 pm Thursday, December 18, 2014

Nansemond River High School is drawing a lot of wrestling talent this weekend, starting today.

It is hosting the sixth annual Mike Duman Toys for Tots Holiday Invitational, which runs today through Saturday and features 23 schools from around the region including the Warriors, King’s Fork High School and Lakeland High School.

Tournament coordinator John Bostwick said he and Warriors coach Tripp Seed feel that the event is “the top regional invitational tournament in high school right now.”

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There are many schools interested in being a part of it. Bostwick said he had seven teams on the waiting list this year.

The list of participating teams is impressive in number, diversity of location and talent.

“We’ve really got some of the best teams wrestling — Great Bridge (High School) is there, Ocean Lakes (High School) is there,” Bostwick said.

The list of participating teams from out of town also includes Cosby, Churchland, Currituck County (N.C.), Deep Creek, Gloucester, Granby, Hermitage, Kecoughtan, Lafayette, Mills E. Godwin, Northeastern (N.C.), Pasquotank County (N.C.), Phoebus, Salem (Virginia Beach), Smithfield, Tabb, Western Branch and Woodbridge high schools.

“This event prepares our kids for the postseason,” said Bostwick, who is also assistant coach of the Warriors. “There’s a lot of weight classes in this tournament that challenge our kids wrestling-wise at a higher level because I would say at least 85 to 90 percent of the weight classes have three to four state-qualifiers.”

Bostwick said he would like to see the returning Nansemond River wrestlers that placed in last season’s state tournament reach the finals in their respective weight classes this weekend.

“They have the capability to,” he said.

Those wrestlers include junior 113-pounder Malcolm Dawson, senior 120-pounder James Boone and sophomore heavyweight Dia Gray.

Bostwick is considering ways to accommodate the further growth of the invitational.

For future years, “we’re actually looking at the possibility of Nansemond River still hosting this event, but maybe changing venues,” he said.

The idea behind a change would be to find a location that could allow space for six mats and 32 teams.

This year’s tournament will run today from 2:30 p.m. until about 9:30 p.m. On Saturday, it will start at 9:30 a.m. and run until about 7:30 p.m.

Bostwick said the tournament will be structured like a normal conference or regional tournament, with wrestlers competing individually to win their weight class, while generating points toward a potential win for their teams.

Both today and Saturday, there will be a concession stand open, Zoyo Neighborhood Yogurt will have a station set up and Covered Printing & Graphics will have tournament T-shirts for sale.

Today, adults (high school graduates and older) can purchase a two-day ticket for $17, and students (age 11 through high school seniors) can get the same ticket for $12. Children (ages 10 and under) get in for free.

If adults bring a new, unwrapped toy today, their two-day ticket price will be discounted to $15, and students who do the same will have their ticket price lowered to $10.

The option to bring a toy and receive a discount is only available today.

One-day ticket prices for Friday are $10 for adults and $6 for students, while one-day ticket prices for Saturday are $12 for adults and $8 for students.