Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Guest Article: A Hybrid Wrestling Tournament Format... The X-Over


by Dan Sabin

Back at the end of December, I published an article titled "The New Way To Run a High School Wrestling Tournament".  I received a lot of great feedback from all over the country. Mostly positive, some negative, but the best part were the other ideas and formats people have tried.  I really learned a lot by posting that article.  By far the most intriguing format was the X-Over format that Ken Harvey posted. I found this so cool for many reasons, but instantly I knew I needed him to write an article explain the details.  I asked, he agreed, and after way too long here it finally is...

The X-Over Format

by Ken Harvey

Any program hoping to build a tournament from scratch or re-doing an old format might find the X-Over Format fun and interesting.  Especially early season when setting up an individual tournaments  get complicated with entries essentially coming in without records.

What we did was take our old team tournament which we had run on 3 mats, borrowed a 4th mat.  We start with three rounds of wrestling in the AM.  "Most Coaches" were good enough to send lineups to us right after their weigh-in Friday.  This allowed us to fill in dual formats for those three rounds ahead.   Any last minute adjustments/scratches were made in a short meeting prior to round one. 8 teams are separated into two - four team pools; we designated one Blue, one Orange in keeping with our school colors.  Even printed dual score sheets on Blue and Orange paper which makes tracking easier.

We commenced all three rounds simultaneously but tried not to waste empty mat space.   Schools were always encouraged to bring in J.V. kids; my assistant grouped them by weights and we put lots of extra matches on those available mats during the completion of the rounds.

During a short break which usually occurs around noon coaches went into our break room for lunch and the Cross Over. Two four man brackets were formed: one Championship bracket, one Consolation bracket. In the Championships bracket, 3-0 wrestlers in pool wrestling to line one and four, 2-1 wrestlers to line two and three.  In the consolation bracket, 1-2 records to line one and four, 0-3 records to line two and three. The included brackets sheets should help eliminate confusion, but the question may arise; what happens if two guys or more complete pool wrestling with 2-1 records?  We always solved this with the head to head outcome, and in rare cases a coin toss.

The bracket sheet is KEY in this cross over.  Color coding the sheet greatly streamlines the process! We used Blue paper for the champ. bracket and Orange for the consolation.  This way table help is aware right away whether matches are 2-2-2 or 1-2-2 on the clock settings.  Try to assign two mats to championship bouts and two mats to consolation. We always ran ahead if the consolation matches finished early or polished off unfinished JV's from the AM.

Sending all four guys with the bout sheet in each bracket really works!!!! Avoids confusion and allows kids easy access to seeing their next opponent.   Okay, so not a lot of Fanfare right?  Wasn't the intent of this format but it really worked for us.  At the conclusion of each weight class we awarded 6 medals, this of course is a variable that programs can handle in their own way.

Scoring? We gave 2pts. advancement for each match win per wrestler in round 1-3, .25 for Tech, .5 for Falls. 5 team points for each win in duals.  Scoring in the individual rounds was per last two rounds of 8 team individual tournament per rule book.   Hopefully we will be finding this on Track-Wrestling before long; this coaches limited computer skills have impaired this process.

Couple of notes follow here: 

  • Realize that all your starters are going to wrestle five matches in this format, and that it isn't conducive to shifting weights during the duals (though we did work it out a few times).
  • We used 5 referees to keep this going and allow the 5th ref to spell guys as needed.  Keep this in mind when costing out your entry fee.
  • We did also mix in a teams extra wrestlers into weight classes to fill voids in a teams lineup; they were scored neutral to avoid tilting the score,  but it really made some kids day to wrestle five matches with their host team for the morning (just one more thing I love about Wrestling and relationship building!). One season a team notified us on the short end that they couldn't attend. Didn't kill us. We simply built a varsity  team out of extra wrestlers, put this team in Pool Wrestling and scored them as a team. My assistant took on the job of coaching them - was amazing to see them cheering for each other soon after the 1st round began.

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