Area wrestlers to flock to Clayton for TI Duals
CLAYTON, New York (WWNY) - Some of the best high school wrestlers in the Northeast will be making the trek to Clayton this weekend for an event rich in tradition that’s celebrating two decades.
The first weekend in August means it’s time for one of the biggest wrestling tournaments in the region to take place in Clayton, as the Thousand Islands Duals take place.
It’s a milestone year for the event, as it celebrates its 20th anniversary. Tournament organizer Pat Conners says the idea of a wrestling tournament of this scale during the summer was a unique one.
“The idea was to get some off-season wrestling in the area,” he said. “Dual meet tournaments weren’t really a thing, and I really didn’t know how it would work out because it’s a concept that was new. The first year we had 22 teams, it worked out really well, and it’s blossomed now into where we have, well, some years we’ve had 80 teams.”
Conners says this year 56 teams will be taking part, pared down in part due to COVID, with teams coming from as far as Maryland and Maine.
There are two divisions this year, the junior high and high school divisions, with teams wrestling in three divisions: the club division, the middle division, and then a division consisting of high school teams.
Conners says there’s a reason for that.
“That way we don’t have a lot of teams that are just local high school teams, wrestling kids that are nationally ranked kids,” he said. “It eliminates the unequal matchups in the round where we had teams getting beat 70 to nothing. We got rid of that.”
Having such a prestigious tournament in the north country over the past two decades has helped and continues to help all the programs in the area get a chance to face top-level competition right in their own backyard.
“I think it’s great for the area. I think it’s helped wrestling,” Conners said. “I’ve had a lot of help with the local coaches, the South Jeff community. A lot of people have helped me put this together. We have teams that come down from Canton and Gouverneur, all the local schools, Syracuse schools come up, and the Frontier League schools all have kids wrestling in this, so it’s a great experience for them and they get exposed to some great wrestling.”
Conners adds the tournament wouldn’t be possible without the help and cooperation of the staff of the Cerow Recreational Park Arena in Clayton.
Wrestling gets underway on Friday and wraps up on Sunday.
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