Friday, January 1, 1999
BYUs college tournamentBy Jerry Campany
first here in 10 years
Special to the Star-Bulletin
For one day, Laie will be the hotbed of collegiate wrestling.
Brigham Young University will host the Aloha Wrestling Classic tomorrow at the Cannon Activities Center in Laie. It will be the first college wrestling tournament held in Hawaii since 1989 and will feature four teams ranked in the top 25 and 18 wrestlers in the top 20.
Tournament director Nathan Walker, also the head assistant wrestling coach at BYU, put together this clash of titans in paradise -- not exactly a hotbed of collegiate wrestling -- as a reward to what he considers the best athletes in the world.
"Wrestling tournaments are traditionally held in places like Fargo, N.D., in the middle of the winter," Walker said. "This tournament gives the wrestlers an opportunity to compete in a great tournament and enjoy themselves when they are not wrestling."
Despite 10 years between major college wrestling tournaments and no team to call its own, Walker sees Hawaii as a "decent wrestling state with a well-developed high school program."
The opportunity to see some of the finest wrestlers in the country practice their craft is valuable to Hawaii's prep grapplers.
"There is no question that it will help our wrestlers," Iolani head coach Carl Schroers said. "They will see things that they would never get to otherwise."
Four of the six teams participating are clustered in the top 25, putting the team title up for grabs. Purdue is the favorite at No. 16 but will have to turn back the University of Pennsylvania (18), Harvard (22), BYU (25), Air Force and Portland State.
Only a month into the season, the marquee matchup is expected to be in the 165-pound class with No. 2 Rangi Smart of BYU against fifth-ranked Joey Killar of Harvard. Other headliners include 141-pound All-American Dustin Denuzio of Harvard, Penn's Brett Matter at 149 pounds and Andrei Rodzianko in the 197-pound class. Third-ranked Josh Hutchens leads the Boilermakers in the 133 -pound weight division.
Tickets will be available at the Cannon Center ticket office tomorrow and cost $3 per person or $10 per team or family for the entire day. The event kicks off at 10 a.m. and will continue with three simultaneous matches until a team winner is crowned at approximately 6 p.m.