This time of the year is certainly known for March Madness with the NCAA basketball tournament opening up today across the country, but a large chunk of Iowa will be more interested in a different type of madness with the opening of the NCAA Wrestling Championships in St Louis.
“Yeah, we like to call it March Matness around Perry,” laughed Perry Chamber Director Bob Wilson. “It is a great championship and we always love to follow it. I think wrestling is the ultimate sport when it comes to teaching mental toughness, personal discipline and a driving work ethic. I know I enjoy watching it with my 8 year old son and he is fully engaged. These little guys are dialed into the big boys and watch every move. I’m a huge Hawkeye so I want to watch (Thomas) Gillman dominate and it’s ok if Penn State wins again. I’ll still be a Hawkeye.”
JP Hulgan is owner of Hulgan Plumbing and Heating and is also an assistant wrestling coach at Perry High School. He says it’s a great tournament for the state to come together.
“Even though I’m a Hawkeye fan, I’m a fan of all the wrestling here in the state of Iowa. That’s what makes this tournament so special in that you can watch every single Iowa guy compete at the same venue on the same weekend. It’s 3 days of fun and excitement.”
In fact wrestling fans can sometimes get so excited for the NCAA wrestling championships when they are hosted in the Midwest that they forget your normal everyday routine.
“The craziest story happened a few years ago when the NCAA’s were held in Omaha,” smiled Hulgan. “I went with a couple of guys from Perry Matt Whiton and Corey Meyers and we loaded all of our bags in the back of Matt’s pickup truck. When we arrived in Omaha after the two hour drive, we realized that we left the tailgate down in the back of Matt’s truck. Fortunately, we didn’t lose any of our bags. We got lucky!”
The NCAA wrestling championships start today in St Louis. Raccoon Valley Radio Sports Director Shawn Kenney will provide play by play coverage on ESPN during the 3 day event with Mike Couzens, Anthony Robles, Tim Johnson, Billy Baldwin and Jim Gibbons.