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Letters to the Editor

"Concerned About the Criteria Used for the Youth Rankings"

Bill,

I'm writing you concerning the criteria you use for the rankings of the youth wrestlers. I would like to know why you do not award points for the other national tournaments like the Cliff Keen Tulsa Kickoff, Cliff Keen Reno, Cliff Keen Tulsa Nationals, Liberty Nationals, Bighorn Nationals, Who's Bad, etc. It is obvious that you think these are good tournaments and tough tournaments because you list some of these such as the Gladiator World Championships and Monster Match Nationals and Reno World Championships. These are all tournaments that these youth can participate in. You list the State Junior High Championships, where not all of the youth are able to participate. Don't you think it would be more fair and a more true ranking if you gave these youth credit for every opportunity that is available to them on an equal basis?

We appreciate your desire and work to rank these boys. Let's give them credit for all they do.

Ron Williams

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Editor's Response

Mr. Williams:

This is a hard question, and one that Iíve tussled with since starting this. The final conclusion is that, if I personally know the tournament, then I include it. If I donít, then I donít want to award it too much or too little credit because I would be shooting blind. That can be limiting but, at the same time, I feel that itís the only way that I can maintain some semblance of credibility or neutrality.

So I havenít been to any of the series of tournaments that includes the Liberty Nationals or the Bighorn Nationals. The former I learned about last year, the latter I learned about just a few months ago. (And I added it to the national folkstyle calendar in case of there are Utah wrestlers who want to take advantage of the opportunity.) Since Iím fairly well connected in the wrestling community, that makes me think that my lack of knowledge is probably an indicator that the tournament is not as legitimate as some others. And then there are some within those series that are not as tough as a local tournament, where they cannot even fill a weight for all awards.

I may be making the wrong decision but, as I said, Iím shooting blind in these instances. And Iíd rather hold up on pulling the trigger than fire blind.

Then there are other tournaments that I HAVE attended that are so tough that I thought that just winning a match there was worthy of additional points (Reno World Championships, USA Wrestling national tournaments, AAU national tournaments, etc.).

That said, I know I include local tournaments in the rankings that are not as tough as some of them out there. The reason for that is to encourage more support of those tournaments from the Utah wrestling community. Itís just one thing I can do to try to get more people to attend the Utah Summer Games, for example. Wrestling just started back up in recent years, so itís slow, but it IS improving. And so I try to encourage that using the rankings.

So, if I donít award points toward the rankings, I try to still give recognition on the Web site, listing results, etc. I have not yet done that for the Reno Nationals because they have not yet posted the official results, and there were at least a dozen Utah wrestlers there, so Iím waiting to see the final tally.

I hope that answers your question. Itís not an easy one to answer. Using the point system takes away much of the subjectivity. But, deciding what to include or not include can, as you said, put the subjectivity right back into it.

Thank you for asking.

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Reader's Response

As I am new to your web site and have been looking through it and what tournaments you look at for rankings, I noticed that you don't have anything on the Granite District Junior High School Tournament. The School District has 15 teams and one open slot for outstanding JV wresters (only 1st place JV wrestler's can go to the Division tournament) to compete from within the Salt Lake Valley. We have some very good wrestlers that participate in these wrestling programs that go onto be state wrestlers at their respective High Schools. Sometimes, it is very hard for wrestlers to attend other tournaments while participating in a full season at their respective schools. I would like to see some kind of scoring system to allow these kids to be ranked. I think this is a very tough tournament. In order for the kids to get to the District tournament, they need to place in the top four in their weight category at their Divisional tournament, just to get to the District tournament.

  • JV tournament, January 13, 2006

  • Divisional tournament, January 21, 2006

  • District tournament, January 28, 2006

As you can see, we cannot participate in the 4A/5A State Meet this year.

Thank you for your response.

Norm Hanson
Assistant Wrestling Coach
Evergreen Junior High

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Editor's Response to Response

Coach Hanson:

Thank you for sending me that information.  As of yet, you are the first coach from Granite District to send me any hard information.  So that's great.  I've talked to a few coaches, trying to get them to send me tournament results, dual-meet results, etc., but I'm not having much luck yet.  So thank you.

I'd be happy to add more criteria to the rankings.  But I have to have results first.  I was going to include a couple more junior high/youth tournaments to the rankings, but I can't seem to get results from the tournament directors.  So I took those back out of the ranking criteria.  And, also, even if I don't get the information from the directors of those tournaments, there is nothing barring Granite District wrestlers from participating in the freestyle and Greco-Roman tournaments.  In fact, I would be just tickled to death to see more new faces.

In the meantime, I would like to add those tournaments above to the calendar, if you could send me more complete information.

Thank you for taking this time to contribute to the improvement of wrestling in Utah.

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