Tiger Classic coming to town
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Jackson will look to continue an impressive streak this weekend when Central hosts the region's top high school wrestling tournament.
The Indians, the area's dominant program and also among the best in the state, have finished in the top four at the Tiger Classic all but one year since 1990.
Jackson won the title in 2008 and has placed second the past three seasons.
"We're really proud of what we've done there over the years. We've always been in the hunt. It's always nice to be in the top few teams," Jackson coach Steve Wachter said. "It's a really good tournament. There's always some great competition."
The 39th-annual Tiger Classic at Central Junior High School begins at 5 p.m. Friday and resumes at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. Finals are expected to start around 4 p.m. Saturday, earlier than usual.
"A lot of the coaches from out of town said they'd like to be able to get going back home a little earlier, so we're trying to get the finals started earlier this year," Central coach James Brake said.
Brake said Central always looks forward to hosting such a prestigious event that requires not only full-time school employees but also a host of volunteers.
"We feel like it's one of the best tournaments in the state," Brake said. "It takes a lot of help to put something like this on, but we always get tremendous support. We're looking for another great tournament."
The Tiger Classic, which includes 17 teams this year -- up from 15 squads last season -- has featured some thrilling finishes over the years.
Northwest and Jackson had the dominant teams in 2011. Northwest won the title with 358 points, ahead of Jackson's 325.5 points. Rockwood Summit was a distant third with 205 points.
In 2010, Jackson and Christian Brothers, from Memphis, Tenn., waged a battle that went down to the wire. The Indians claimed what is believed to be a tournament-record seven individual titles, but CBC captured the team crown with 342.5 points. The Indians had 330 points.
CBC did not return last year and is not in this weekend's field.
"We've had some pretty exciting finishes in the tournament," Wachter said.
Wachter couldn't have asked more from his youthful team last year as the Indians had four individual champions.
"Considering how young we were, I was really pleased with what we did," said Wachter, whose 2011 Tiger Classic lineup featured five freshmen and four sophomores.
Returning champions for Jackson are sophomore Jarrett Reisenbichler and junior Tyler Rush. They captured titles at 106 and 132 pounds, respectively.
Jackson is off to a strong start this year, having already won tournament titles at Parkway South and Ritenour.
"We're still young but we've been wrestling well," Wachter said.
Central placed eighth for the second consecutive year at last season's Tiger Classic. Notre Dame was 11th during its first year at the event. Both squads are inexperienced this season.
Notre Dame had one individual champion last year, Trevor Foltz claiming the 182-pound title as a junior.
Northwest will be back to defend its team title.
Also in the field, along with Jackson, Central and Notre Dame, are Christian County (Ky.), De Soto, Dexter, Francis Howell North, Hillsboro, Mehlville, Rockwood Summit, Rolla, Sikeston, Ste. Genevieve, Sullivan, University City and Union.
"Northwest is really good again. They're probably the team to beat," Wachter said. "We hope to be in the hunt again."