TOC makes its return!

Elly Green, Print Production Manager

After not having a typical Tournament of Champions (TOC) in 2021, the boys and girls wrestling teams were able to experience a “normal” TOC in the 2021-2022 season. With a full student section, parent section and finals, the high school boys wrestling team was able to take home first place in the tournament. Additionally, new wrestlers on the team were able to experience TOC without COVID-19 restrictions.

The 2021 TOC looked very different from tournaments in the past such as TOC 2020, 2019 and many years before that. While Newton still hosted the tournament in 2021, spectators were extremely limited and the idea of having a student section was nonexistent. Not only this, but cheer, dance and drumline were not allowed to perform before finals like usual. 

“Last year the spectators were limited and some of the formatting of the tournament was also different, they didn’t take any time to do any cool finals setups, they just kept it how it was and went straight through all in one day,” junior Nick Treaster said. 

This year, there was no limit on spectators and the excitement for finals was just as real as it usually is. It was not as easy to get people to show up because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases Treaster said, but the Newton community and NHS community showed up in drastic numbers compared to last year. While cheer, dance and drumline were scheduled to perform before the finals round, quarantines and positive COVID-19 cases caused all three groups to drop out of their performances.

“There were some troubles trying to get people to go and you know the drumline wasn’t there, dance team wasn’t there the whole cheer team wasn’t there so it was a lot quieter,” Treaster said. 

For the girls wrestling team, this TOC was extremely special as it was their first time being able to participate. 2022 was only the second year of the girls wrestling program at Newton. The girls started wrestling on Thursday with a team dual, meaning that each team wrestled the other team and it was hosted in a dual format. This meant that each weight class would wrestle one another. Additionally, this was done in a round robin style, so five teams in all were wrestled by the Newton girls team, said junior Jaymie Murry. Murry said that since it was the first TOC for the girls team, they pushed much harder than usual.

“We definitely were pushing a lot harder the week before TOC, we wanted to do good, we worked on our skills a lot and [we were] at the point in the season when we’re not trying to learn a bunch of new stuff but rather perfect things that we already have,” Murry said. 

The boys wrestling team also got a special TOC experience after placing first in the tournament after not winning this specific tournament for 40 years. The team won by 40 points compared to the second placing team and teams from all divisions were beaten. Not only did they win as a team, but three Newton wrestlers went into finals and Treaster placed first in finals.

“I know that a lot of teams at the beginning of the year didn’t see Newton as a very big competitor coming into the season, I know we have a really good coaching staff and everyone wants to do very well so just doing well in TOC really put us on the list of being a team competing for a state title,” Treaster said. 

Treaster said that the best part of TOC has to be the food cooked for all of the wrestlers on saturday by the parents, other than the exciting atmosphere of finals and being able to wrestle in front of all of your friends and family.

“The atmosphere before finals is definitely really fun at least for the students in the student section. The hype around it is really cool,” Murry said. “We had three winners this year so that’s great and to get to see them on the podium it’s a good feeling to be proud of Newton.”