For the 19th year, Grapevine wrestling will host one of the oldest ongoing holiday events in the area.
The Grapevine Duals will be held Jan. 2-3 at the high school campus.
The event will host 24 teams from around the region, including five teams from Oklahoma, a team from Louisiana and other top programs from across Texas.
The five-dual per day event will give the Mustangs a chance to show they can be contenders this season after a strong finish last year.
“The season has had its ups and downs,” said Grapevine head coach Kent Hall. “We won our first tournament in Louisiana. We also wrestled at the Titan Games (in Frisco) and saw some good quality teams there.”
The Mustangs are coming off a convincing 57-12 dual win over Colleyville Heritage on Wednesday night.
Brian Andrews is helping lead the Mustangs, as he is 12-0 heading into the team’s weekend tournament at Saginaw Chisholm Trail. Andrews has won both tournaments this year after placing at the state meet last year. He will compete at 195 pounds.
Also having standout seasons thus far are Sam Hodges at 126, (17-2) and Justin Hill at 132 (17-3).
Grapevine won’t be a full-strength tournament team until it can fill the vacancies at the two lightest weight classes in addition to 160. The Mustangs are about to get wrestlers back into the heavyweight slot, too.
“I thought we’d have a full team and I’m a little disappointed in that (the holes in the lineup), but we’ve got some good individuals,” said Hall. “It will be a good season and if some kids will come around, then it’ll be a great season.”
The Mustangs will also be maintaining their training over the holidays, not just for the Grapevine Duals, but also for the following week’s competition at the 5A state dual tournament at Frisco Wakeland.
But the first focus will be on the hometown duals, an event which requires tremendous planning and execution from a multitude of volunteers – mostly parents of the athletes and friends of the athletic department.
The two-day event takes table workers and countless man-hours to prep food for the host of coaches, workers and officials.
“We’ve been blessed with parents that do so much for me,” Hall added. “It’s like feeding a small army, with all the duals and the girls’ tournament.”
Grapevine will now be competing in District 6 of 5A along with the Fort Worth programs such as Trimble Tech, Western Hills, Wyatt, Arlington Heights and Arlington Seguin. The district tournament will be Feb. 6 at Grapevine.
One good aspect of the holidays in wrestling – and there aren’t many for those trying to keep their weight under control – is the UIL mandated two-pound allowance granted after the first of the new year.
The Grapevine event will include wrestling on 10 mats in three gyms at the high school, including use of the student activity center.
After Friday’s five rounds in pool competition, the top teams will move into the championship bracket for Saturday’s competition and the remainder will wrestle in a consolation bracket.