It’s been three years now that the Altoona Fieldhouse has hosted both the District 6 Class AA and Class AA tournaments on separate weekends.
Class AA coaches still don’t like the two weeks between the district tournament and the Southwest Regional Tournament because it slows the momentum their wrestlers had in placing in the top five.
Some fans would like the tournament to return to Tyrone’s gymnasium, including the recent Voice of the Fan writer, whose car was ticketed for parking in a no parking area. I can sympathize because I also got one the same weekend.
But right now, the Fieldhouse is the best option for the 26-team tournament, which outgrew Tyrone. Tyrone was the site of the Class AA tournament for 26 years until 2005, when District 6 voted to move both tournaments to Altoona, but have them on separate weekends.
It got rid of the dreaded sectional tournaments at Tyrone and Penn Cambria, which lost money and opened kids up to injuries wrestling another weekend. At the time, football, basketball and wrestling generated the most money for the district.
My suggestion is that with the right planning both tournaments could be held at the Fieldhouse over three days. The PIAA Championships are held over three days at the Giant Center, so why not the Fieldhouse?
The biggest problem would probably still be the parking, but that could be managed with better signs, parking attendants, cooperation and understanding from police and the school district and maybe even maps or listed parking locations on the District 6 Web site.
It would be a big undertaking for sure, but if district officials want to stop hearing grumbling from the Class AA coaches, then all of the hard work to get ready for the tournament would be worth it.
Another advantage to having both classes at the same site is maybe some fans would like to watch wrestlers in the other classes compete.
Maybe some Class AA fans would have liked to have seen Bald Eagle Area’s returning state champion Quentin Wright show his dominance, but they didn’t want to make the trip to Altoona just for that.
Maybe a fan of a Class AAA team would want to see Tyrone’s A.J. Schopp win the 112-pound title or Richland’s Marco Pecora win the 171-pound title.
It was suggested at the spring coaches meeting that the Cambria County War Memorial could be an option for the tournament, and that will likely be brought up again this year. It was considered before the move in 2005, as was Penn State’s Rec Hall.
The War Memorial would probably be big enough, but as anyone who has attended the regional tournament at the War Memorial can attest, parking is a problem there too.
It was suggested by King of the Mountain Tournament director Norm Palovcsik over the weekend that Central Mountain could host the Class AA teams. But that would be a very long trip for most of the schools in the district, especially the teams from Johnstown.
Why not send the Class AAA teams to Tyrone, Central Mountain or Rec Hall and have the Class AA teams wrestle at the Fieldhouse on the same days? The answer is Altoona’s not going to let its team go elsewhere while other teams are wrestling in the Fieldhouse.
Beaujon benched by district
One coach you didn’t see in the corner of his wrestlers at the Class AA tournament and won’t see for the rest of the postseason is Westmont Hilltop’s Matt Beaujon.
Beaujon was suspended by the district for the entire postseason for taking his team home after a controversial loss to Mount Union in the District 6 Team Duals semifinals at Tyrone.
Todd Irwin can be reached at 946-7464 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.