When it came to the decision to move one of the state’s biggest wrestling tournaments all season, everything just made sense.
Based on a number of factors, the West Virginia Army National Guard Duals will be contested at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center on the weekend of Jan. 8-9. The tournament had been held at the Summersville Armory each of its first eight years.
When the opportunity to change venues to the BRCCC presented itself, there was really no reason not to make the move.
“The Junior States had been there (in 2008) and every coach I talked to told me how great that was,” tournament director Lee Parlier said. “So really the two biggest convincing factors were the coaches expressing their wishes for it to move to Beckley, and when I talked to Andrea Akers (the convention center’s general manager), she was excited. She wanted it there. I’m not sure the Summersville CVB really wanted it.”
The event boasts the biggest weekend of high school wrestling all year, which brings to light another advantage — the convention center seats 2,800 to Summersville’s 1,300. When it’s all said and done, a total of 2,520 matches will be contested over two days.
By comparison, the state tournament in Huntington sees 852 matches over three days.
The Guard Duals has become among the most popular events of the season.
“The teams that it has drawn has been amazing,” Parlier said.
Johnson Central, Ky., which won the tournament in 2010, ‘11 and ‘12, willl be back. So will other perennial entrants such as Lord Betetourt, Va., and of course several teams from here in the Mountain State, including 2013 champion Greenbrier West, Midland Trail, Fayetteville, Nicholas County, Liberty, Shady Spring, PikeView, Greenbrier East, Oak Hill and new tournament host Woodrow Wilson.