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  #11  
Old 01-24-2008
Rob Sherrill Rob Sherrill is offline
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I've read the responses here. To date, I have yet to see a reason in favor of three classes that makes sense. Read the rationalizations. "Yeah, it wouldn't help Class A, but..." People seem to think Class AA needs to be fixed. I don't think that's the case at all. Class AA already has all the gold. It can survive just fine on its own. But all I seem to be reading here is that some people want to make the rich richer.

What exactly is the "problem" crying to be "fixed" by a third class? Not enough state placewinners? Not enough interest? The Class AA fan base is, and always will be, the size it is now. That is, until we someday have a Lincoln-Way and Plainfield school to match every direction on the compass, which adds only a handful more schools at the top.

I've been to state tournaments in close to a dozen states. Please believe me when I tell you we don't know how good we have it now. I truly believe Class AA in Illinois is the elite state tournament class in the United States, and that that's something to take pride in and to enjoy. Let's not kill the goose that lays high school wrestling's golden eggs in our state.
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  #12  
Old 01-25-2008
AA Coach AA Coach is offline
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The problem is loss of programs because they can no longer compete with the giant Juggernaut Catholic Schools. The small AA public schools are hard pressed to get a qualifier let alone a state placer. The other sports... football, etc at their schools are thriving under the new IHSA class split. Teams are making the playoffs who never had before each year. if you are a high school athlete attending one of these schools does wresling look life a good option. It is hard enough to wrestle... then add the lowering chances of experiencing success. Wrestling has to offer something for the average kid or our sport will dry up.
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  #13  
Old 01-25-2008
Nilly Nilly is offline
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Maybe I didn't read everything the right way. On the IHSA website, it says Dual Team State competition. Is it possible the IHSA is going to stick with 2 classes for individual and a third class for team competition?
Just a thought.

I feel the strongest part of Mr. Sherrill's argument is the small schools need to step it up accross our state. I've been to many out of state tournaments and have found the small schools in Wisconsin and Iowa are what make those states great. I agree Illinois is lagging behind when it comes to the small schools not having wrestling. We need to somehow get programs up and running in many of our small non-participating towns.

I disagree that there needs to be a 50/50 split. That is not right at all. If you are going to 50/50 split, then are you going to add Class A qualifiers? One would think you would have to. In no way am I an expert, but how can a school like Morrison or Riverdale compete with a school that has 1200 students? It doesn't appear to be equitable to do a 50/50 split. The small school programs would get destroyed and further the problem of keeping small school wrestling programs alive and successful.
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  #14  
Old 01-25-2008
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Paul89 Paul89 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AA Coach View Post
The problem is loss of programs because they can no longer compete with the giant Juggernaut Catholic Schools. The small AA public schools are hard pressed to get a qualifier let alone a state placer. The other sports... football, etc at their schools are thriving under the new IHSA class split. Teams are making the playoffs who never had before each year. if you are a high school athlete attending one of these schools does wresling look life a good option. It is hard enough to wrestle... then add the lowering chances of experiencing success. Wrestling has to offer something for the average kid or our sport will dry up.
Coach,

You can't lay this all at the feet of the "juggernaut catholic schools" - and I suppose you weren't, but some small AA public schools can't past the west auroras, glenbard norths, sandburgs, OPRFs, Grants, etal. I am aware of the "inequities" between catholic and public schools, but that's just way too convenient and excuse.

take a look at the successful schools (public and private) and see the feeder programs ... not just wrestling, but football, basketball, baseball ... is the coaching/athlete develoment as good as it could be to help grow the program? The IHSA isn't goint to do anything to help schools grow their programs.

for the record, I support a more equitable split between A and AA that would give some of the smaller AA public school kids (and even some of the smaller catholic school kids) a shot at qualifying and placing.
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Last edited by Paul89; 01-19-2011 at 03:09 PM.
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  #15  
Old 01-25-2008
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Jaguar Jaguar is offline
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Rob, playing the devil's advocate, how do you view the Iowa system? They have three classes. I don't see that hurting them in the development of talent, getting recognized by college recruiters, performance on a national level, etc. They have far fewer wrestlers and schools with wrestling than Illinois. I appreciate the purity and competition level at the Illinois state tournament, but I (and the other die hard wrestling fans out there) are really a minority of people. I think that there is a general sense that Illinois has one of the tougher state tournaments in the country, but I don't see that general sense translate into giving Illinois kids more of an opportunity at the college level. I see college coaches still being enamured by the gawdy record of a 3x state champ in Iowa's small class over the Illinois kid who might have placed once on AA, even if the Illinois kid beats the Iowa kid in the offseason. That "inequity" is what leads me to support a three class system - though I do NOT support the IHSA's current proposal.
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  #16  
Old 01-25-2008
AA Coach AA Coach is offline
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Jag- I agree that every small public school is not utilizizing their resources to the fullest. Take a look at those non Catholic Schools you mention... enrollment is sometimes 3-4x that of a small AA public... our school around 870 kids. Chicago Marist.... umm around 2000 all boys or something like that? Some of the publics you mention 2000-3000 range... some larger! If the inequity is not seen in this then someone is not looking real hard.
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  #17  
Old 01-25-2008
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Last edited by Paul89; 01-19-2011 at 03:09 PM.
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  #18  
Old 01-25-2008
Rob Sherrill Rob Sherrill is offline
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Jag, Iowa's wrestling landscape isn't the same as we have here in Illinois. I'd have to go to a member school enrollment list and check this out, but Iowa is a bottom-heavy state when it comes to the class distribution. The fewest wrestling schools are in Class AAA, the most are in Class A. There are only about 65 AAA schools, whereas there are nearly 100 in each of the two smaller-school classes. Illinois is the opposite. It's a top-heavy state. We have more than twice as many AA schools as we have A schools. So the demographics of the two states are exactly the opposite.

That's one of the things I've written about in my W.I.N. magazine columns over the years - the fact that the states that surround Illinois have many more small schools wrestling than Illinois does. We may border Iowa, but we really have nothing in common with them in terms of the demographics of our wrestling population and culture. And that's difficult for people to understand, but it's a fact of life, and thinking that what works for them will work for us is illogical reasoning.

To counter paul89's point, nobody in Class AA has dropped the sport recently that I can see except for Kankakee. And that's obviously a school district with far more serious problems than whether they can sustain a wrestling program. There are 363 Class AA schools that are not all-girls schools, and 335 - almost 93 per cent - have wrestling programs. Almost all have had wrestling for decades - or, if they're newer schools, since they opened - and the ones that don't haven't had it, either in many years or ever. So to say that we're losing programs at all - let alone in any numbers - is simply inaccurate. In fact, central Illinois is getting stronger, with programs like Champaign Central, Peoria Woodruff, Normal Community, Canton and Taylorville, just to name a few, experiencing upswings recently. And it's not just Granite City and Edwardsville down south any more, either, with Collinsville, O'Fallon and Highland, among others, starting to put themselves on the map down that way.

I believe the only class in America that rivals the current Class AA for overall talent and sheer drama is Class AAA in Pennsylvania. Most years, that one's the best. Last year, our Class AA was better. Don't let the numbering fool you. Like Illinois, Pennsylvania only has two classes. They just happen to be numbered AAA (big schools) and AA (small schools), rather than AA and A as we have here.

Last edited by Rob Sherrill; 01-25-2008 at 06:58 PM.
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  #19  
Old 01-25-2008
Bucksman Bucksman is offline
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Rob- I would argue that single class California and single class New Jersey are up there with 3A (big-school) PA and 2A (big-school) IL. Neither Ohio DI or DII are up there if you ask me - are they great tournaments to witness? yes. do they have great wrestlers and wrestling? yes. are either tournaments loaded as the four above? no.

As stated, the inequities inherent to Illinois wrestling are unlike that of any other state. You have one area of the state with a basic monopoly on wrestling talent, and also of the population at large. Also, as I have previously posted, even in a state like Ohio where there is a perceived "geography gap" - there is still viable competition/competitiors in four of the five sectors of the state (NW, NE, C, SW; E/SE as the weak one). You look at PA, and there is an amazing balance - Western PA, Central PA, Lehigh Valley, and Philly area all have very fertile talent areas. California has at least two areas of note - southern section and then Fresno area. New Jersey is such a compact state anyway, so it's hard to compare.
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  #20  
Old 01-25-2008
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agdfan agdfan is offline
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Although I have used Iowa as an example, I do agree, Illinois is, unfortunately, unique. My question then is...what will help our small school programs survive, and what can be done to create more programs in the small schools that don't currently offer them?

(Rob...please pass this on...nice article in WIN, but I am biased!!)
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