Billings prepares for the All-Class State Wrestling Tournament - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Billings prepares for the All-Class State Wrestling Tournament

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The All-Class State Wrestling Tournament gets underway Friday afternoon but the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark doesn't just magically turn into a wrestling mecca.

Preparation at the Rimrock Auto Arena starts days in advance with the mats being brought in on Monday but prep for the entire tournament started in October.

From the mats to the rotations to the crowd everything has to be set up and planned perfectly for the state wrestling tournament to go off without a hitch.

School District 2 Athletic Director, Mark Wahl, said "years ago it used to be a lot more complicated. Everything was done by hand."

With the help of technology; planning the rotations isn't hard but putting the mats down is another story.

Wahl said it takes a couple hours to set up but he had some strong guys to help him out.

He said they take all of the kids who went to the divisional tournament but didn't make the state tournament and as a reward, they get to come in and help set up then go to lunch.

The students that got to help set up had to play a little bit of tetris to make sure all of the mats fit.
Wahl said the hardest part of the tournament isn't setting up the actual tournament but getting each of his more than 200 volunteers up to speed with what is happening.

He said, "it's kind of tricky to make sure that you have enough people everywhere. Make sure that they understand how they're going to get into the Metra. We make sure all the volunteers are well versed in what they need to do."

After Friday afternoon's practices are over the tournament will begin and Wahl said once the ball gets rolling it doesn't stop.

As of 3 o'clock Thursday afternoon, Rimrock Auto Arena is officially set up and practice has started so each wrestler can make sure they're prepped and ready to go for Friday morning. 

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