Year in and year out, online wrestling forums in Massachusetts talk about what would happen if the best of the best from different states, divisions, or leagues went up against one another in a dual meet. Now, fans will get an answer to one of those questions Thursday night, while supporting a charity in the process.
With that debate in mind, Burlington High athletic director Shaun Hart and wrestling coach Paul Schvartsman came up with the idea for an interleague dual meet between the Merrimack Valley Conference and Middlesex League to start the season.
Burlington High School will host the event, which will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday with tickets $5 at the door. The dual will feature 19 matchups, with a match at each weight class and two matches for five of the weights. Once the night is over, 38 of the state’s best wrestlers representing 12 schools will have competed under one roof.
After some brainstorming last April, Schvartsman said all parties got on board with the idea quickly. They compiled lineups for the event once the season started last month.
While the basics for the dual were set earlier in the year, one added element came later: raising money for a good cause.
That final touch was the addition of Pin Cancer, an organization for wrestlers to raise awareness and money for cancer research.
All of the proceeds from Thursday’s event will go toward the Pin Cancer movement, and will make the event that much bigger for Schvartsman and everyone else involved.
“We weren’t making to look money off of it,” Schvartsman said. “We thought it’d be a nice thing. If we get a thousand people in the gym at five bucks a head, we’ll raise some good money and give it to charity. Obviously everybody’s been affected by cancer, so we thought that’d be a good one to donate to.”
The dual meet will feature some of the state’s best talent, with four New England and 11 All-State tournament place winners, six state champions, and 16 sectional champions represented.
Although the exhibition matches won’t count toward any wrestler’s season records, they could serve as a preview for some potential tournament matches once February rolls around.
Now, with the blueprint for this type of event out there for the state to utilize, Schvartsman hopes that this dual meet can be replicated in the future.
“If everything goes smoothly and it comes out all right, it’s definitely something we’d like to do going forward,” Schvartsman said. “We’re kind of putting it out there, and showing that if you really want to put something like this together, it’s not that hard.”