Oree Foster
Staff Writer, AZPreps365.com

Wrestling: Window Rock Fighting Scouts host 32-team wrestling tournament

December 13, 2018 by Oree Foster, AZPreps365

Window Rock Fighting Scouts will entertain 32 schools during its 5th Annual Veterans' Memorial Wrestling Invitational this Friday and Saturday in the school district's Events Center, located on the campus of Window Rock High School in Fort Defiance.

Window Rock wrestling head coach Marc Hillis said in addition to the high school boy's wrestling tournament and middle school/junior high school wrestling tournament, a girl's high school wrestling tournament will be featured.

"We have the facility (Events Center) to do it all, so why not have a big grand wrestling bash with all tournaments at the same time," Hillis said. "Our facility (Events Center) can handle it. Our fans and competition want it. So we do it."

The middle school/junior high school wrestling tournament begins today at 9 a.m., after weigh-in at 7 a.m. and coaches' meeting at 8:30 a.m.

The girl's wrestling tournament is scheduled for Friday. Weigh-in is at 7:30 a.m. A coaches' meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. Girl's wrestling action is set for 10 a.m. Medal rounds begins at 2:30 p.m. Hillis said there is five full girl's teams, with various individuals also competing.

First day of the boy's wrestling tournament is scheduled for Friday. Weigh-in is set for 8 a.m. A coaches' meeting is at 9 a.m. Boy's wrestling tournament begins at 10 a.m.

Boy's wrestling tournament action continues on Saturday. Weigh-in is at 7 a.m. Boy's wrestling tournament begins at 8:30 a.m. with Session 3, rounds 6 to 8, championship rounds. At 1 p.m. is Session 4, which features semi and championship duals, rounds 9 and 10 continues until conclusion. Team awards will follow.

Hillis said with a large amount of schools participating, there will be 10 mats going at the same time.

"We are not the largest tournament in the Southwest, but are probably the largest duel tournament," Hillis stated. "It took awhile to get all these teams together. Word spread about the good we do and our facility, the Beeholdzil Fighting Scouts Events Center. It's our teams though, which gives us the chance to grow .... that's our main support. As an example, Camp Verde High School has a storied wrestling program. They lent their support by attending our first Veterans' Memorial Invitational in 2-14. They dropped a larger tournament to support us. That's what wrestling does .... shows good sportsmanship through that type of support."

Hillis said he is excited and also a little nervous about the wrestling tournament.

"Every year is a challenge, because we get bigger," Hillis explained. "I want things to go smoothly and want our guests to be just satisfied and be happy with what Window Rock wrestling can give them."

Hillis said the three wrestling tournament fits the needs of the wrestling program, school district and community.

"We want all wrestlers to be able to display their talents in this fantastic and grueling sport," Hillis said. "It is truly the largest sporting event, as far as teams who attend. We exhibit our kids too. It's something that this team hasn't had before .... providing an event that is gaining promise. We are not the best competitive team in Window Rock High School history, but we have the means of providing grand event for all. We also do summer events when possible."

Tucson Sunnyside won the championship last year, beating Camp Verde for the top spot. Schools to look for this year are Perry of Phoenix, Page, who finished third place last year. New Mexico schools, Los Alamos, Gallup. Miyamura and Bloomfield show promise this year to make a run at the championship.

Hillis said there will be five duals per team on Day 1 and five duals on Day 2 to determine team placing. He said every wrestler will have a minimum of 10 matches. He added that there will be matches on eight mats on Day 1 and 10 mats on Day 2. He said secondary wrestlers will be fitted into the tournament as extras on teams with gaps in their lineups. He said they will not score team points, but will get mat time.

Based on dual results, team trophies will be presented for first, second, third and fourth places. Referees will vote for team sportsmanship, who will receive plaque. Individual medals will be awarded to members of the team champions.

Outstanding wrestler for Upper, Middle and Lower weight classes, as voted by the coaches, will be awarded Fight Shorts. The awards are presented by Window Rock High School Dineh Club.

Hillis said the wrestling tournament's official name is Veterans' Memorial Invitational. He said the tournament's name is in honor of Veterans from Fort Defiance and Window Rock area and the school's mascot is part of that history with being an Indian Scout.

"Our tournament is aptly named for members of our community who have served our great nation in times of war, as well as peace," Hillis said. "This includes our mascot, the Scout, named for Navajo warriors who could no longer fight the U.S. Army, so they fought alongside the U.S. Army. The members of this community have served with honor since the first World War. Four graduates of Window Rock High School who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the Vietnam War. Our gyoung men and women continue to serve all over the world and will continue to do so, alongside the other great men and women of this great nation."