The Crookston youth wrestling program isn't necessary poised to expand when another season kicks in later this year, but a word tossed around more than once at Monday's Park Board meeting may have best summed up the changes coming down the pipe to the program: Continuity.
"Now, they start their program, then Parks and Rec kicks in, then Parks and Rec ends and then they keep going with their program; it's all chopped up," Parks and Recreation Supervisor Scott Butt told the board Monday, a week after meeting with members of the youth wrestling booster club. "We want to end all the starts and stops and just have a continuous program from start to finish."
Board members didn't officially approve the change because no one felt they had to. No one expressed any concerns with the changes to the program and Butt said that every youth wrestling representative he'd spoken with is enthusiastically in favor.
The wrestling program will now run from December until approximately March, with the entire season being under the Parks and Recreation umbrella. Butt acknowledged that participation fees will have to go up.
The 2011-12 program had almost 60 participants, Butt said. A more consistent program will decrease the risk of kids leaving the program, he added. "If we extend it out a bit and make it less complicated, more kids will stay with it," he said. "We'll be able to keep a pretty good wrestling program rolling."
The wrestling boosters will take over late in the season, when most large youth wrestling tournaments are held, Butt added.
Tournaments at CSC?
The wrestling discussion spurred Crookston City Council member Tom Vedbraaten, who attended the meeting, to mention that he's been asked if wrestling tournaments could be held at Crookston Sports Center.
Parks and Recreation Director Scott Riopelle said he'd been asked specifically about high school wrestling tournaments being held at the CSC instead of Crookston High School, but that school district officials are hesitant to make a move because they make money from concessions when hosting tournaments at the high school.
"I told the wrestling people that they need to talk to the high school before anything moves forward," Riopelle said. "If any changes are made, it needs to go through the proper channels."
Although the CSC has a special floor covering that can be placed on top of the ice and then wrestling mats could go on top of that, Riopelle said there are significant hurdles that would have to be cleared before a winter wrestling tournament could be held at the sports center. For one, he said, squeezing up to 100 wrestlers into a locker room for the weigh-in doesn't appear doable. For another, he said he's been told that the arena hosting the tournament would have to be heated up to 70 degrees. "We can't do that for such a short amount of time," he said.
Erica Uttermark, who's been with the local figure skating program for years, has been hired to succeed Kristy Morris Leas as Crookston Figure Skating Club coordinator and head coach. Riopelle said the search continues for more instructors. Morris Leas, who resigned after the 2011-12 skating season after many years of running the program, said she will be available to help in the transition as much as possible.
A new youth hockey coordinator is also being sought as well, Riopelle said. Donovan Haugstad has resigned because he is moving to Indiana.