A closer look at Newton’s TOC Tournament

Gracie Hammond

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Addie Lindenmeyer

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Kaete Schmidt

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(Gracie Hammond, Newtonian Content Editor)

The Tournament of Champions held by the high school is considered to be on the the biggest competitions in the region. Pulling in wrestlers from 30 different teams across the state and even some out of state.

The event is held over two days and pulls in hundreds of fans and families. Holding the tournament is no small feat; through the tournament is only two days, much work goes into making it live up to the hype.

District Athletic Administrative Assistant Mrs. Bergquist was an instrumental member in organizing the event. She put together the program and managed tasks like rosters, workers, records, sponsors, passes for performers and school personnel, wristbands and even medals.

“So much of the program must be completed after this information comes in, usually Thursday before TOC begins,” Bergquist said.

The process takes time and many people to complete but after many years Bergquist knows the drill.

“I knew nothing about wrestling or what it took to organize a tournament. Now it’s not about ‘getting through it’ but knowing I completed my tasks, hopefully well ahead of time, so I am able to help staff and visitors have a great time,” Bergquist said.

Wrestlers and their teams aim to land a spot in the championships, the final and inarguably the most exciting day of the competition. The championship matches are celebrated with performances from groups like the drumline, cheerleading squad and Railiner dance team. The final day is also known for its over the top lighting displays to accompany the performances and final rounds.

In past years former student, Christopher Meister had been the resident lighting go to for the event. After his graduation in 2017, the school hired him to work on the event once again.

He spent hours working with David Kliewer, a member of the maintenance staff, hanging and programming the lights. Kliewer operated the lift, hanging the lights while Meister focused on the computer aspect.

“I have to give each light an ID number, which is basically to us like names, then I’m just recording the positions of where the lights need to aim,” Meister said.

In years past Meister had weeks to plan for the event but this year was not even aware he was going to be working on the event until days before.

“ [last year] I had a lot more time, way more time,” Meister said

In order to have the lights ready in time he had to put in many hours. The day before the tournament Meister spent over six hours working on the set up.

Another group putting in work behind the scenes for the event was the dance team. The group’s performances at the tournament is typically one of their most complicated and most rehearsed dances of the year.

“Lately we’ve had two hour practices, and they’ve been on our normal days, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays,” freshman Alaycea Kremeier said.

The dance and music is kept under tight wraps to ensure surprise and elevate the hype the surrounds their performance.

“I’m excited because of the lights and how many people are going to be there and that this year we all feel like our dance is going to kill, so like we are all very excited,” Kremeier said.

Many elements go into making the tournament as large and successful as it is. The hard work and dedication of the students and staff involved allows to tournament to live up to it’s renowned reputation of being one of the biggest wrestling and sporting events of the year.

Day in the Life of a Wrestler

 (Addie Lindenmeyer, Newtonian Asst. Features Editor)

Imagine constant hunger, nonstop exercise and mental strain. If you succeeded, you might be able to image a day in the life of a high school wrestler.

Beginning as early as 5:45 a.m. for junior Dante Harper, the start of the day is marked by weigh-ins. Afterwards, wrestlers manage to consume small amounts of food and rest.

When a wrestler is finally face-to-face with their opponent is when all the hard work pays off. Before stepping on the mat, wrestlers take time to mentally and physically prepare themselves for the arduous match ahead.

“If I am familiar with the guy I am going to wrestle, I like to go over his weaknesses and ways I can use those to my advantages. When I prepare for a match, I usually spend more time focusing on my mentality than getting ready physically,” sophomore Josh Edson said.

Between matches, wrestlers take time to restore their energy by resting and eating. In addition, focus is placed on supporting fellow teammates.

“When you hear them yelling from the side of the mat, they give small things you could improve on in the match,” sophomore Boone Roberson said.

As there is a great deal of physical strain put on the body throughout the day, it is necessary to acquire enough energy to compete while remaining underweight for second day weigh-ins.

“Throughout the day I know I am going to have more than one match and I have weigh-ins to make at the end. I normally eat healthy and workout before every match to get a sweat going and to lose some weight. Then, after each match, I have a sandwich or a granola bar with water or Gatorade to get something new in me for my next match,” sophomore Grant Treaster said. “It definitely is a challenge and is not easy, but you eventually get used to it.”

Sophomore Zach Engelken said that the trick to maintaining an ideal body weight is by eating smart.

“Whatever food you are going to put in yourself is whatever type of output you are going to get. A lot of fruits, vegetables and protein will be going into my meals,” Harper said.

At the end of the day, despite hunger, lack of energy, and the number of wins to loses, positivity is essential in staying motivated.

“I think it’s just believing in yourself and knowing that you can beat the other person,” Engelken said. “This sport is probably at least 90 percent mental, so if you can believe that you can beat your opponent, then you’re going to have the confidence to do it.”

Final Results and Recap

(Kaete Schmidt, Newtonian Asst. Arts & Culture Editor)

On Friday, Jan. 12 students enjoyed a day off of school to support the wrestling team at this year’s Tournament of Champions. Newton has hosted TOC for the last 55 years inviting teams from all over the state to come compete.

This year, a total of 27 teams competed and of which Valley Center placed first with a score of 185.5. Newton finished eighth overall with a score of 105 and had four wrestlers place.

Junior Dante Harper finished in sixth place for his weight class at 160. The three other wrestlers competed in the finals for the championship title or second place. Senior Cyle Gautschi wrestled at 220 earning second place in a 5-3 decision. Sophomore Grant Treaster wrestled at 113 lbs defeating his opponent in a close 2-1 decision earning a first place finish and was named champion. Additionally, Junior Wyatt Hendrickson wrestled at 195 lbs keeping his opponent from any points in a 6-0 decision making Hendrickson the first place champion.

Newton’s Railiners and cheer team were also at TOC to help support and cheer on our wrestlers. Both teams put on a performance before finals to show their school spirit.