Batavia wrestling coach chimes in on economic changes
Batavia wrestling coach Rick Stewart figured the school uniforms were coming for state competition. But he thinks the possible $300 charge for Empire State Games participants is going to kill the event.
"It is what it is, but I think there must be another way the state can raise money," Stewart said. "As a coach, if my kid were to make Empires, and it cost $300 to get uniforms and stuff when it was free before, I would still encourage him to do it."
Stewart agrees with most that the hefty cost will deter many athletes from even trying out for the games, but has a good idea on how to keep the numbers up for the scholastic grapplers.
" There is an adult (open) and kids (scholastic) competition," Stewart said. "I would be more than willing to say that the state should furnish the kids, but once you are an adult and have your own job and make money, you can pay to participate - split it in half rather than everybody paying for it. When you are an adult, it is a hobby for you."
As far as schools wearing their own singlets for the state competition and the possibility of having just one champion, Stewart believes New York State is the only one that still has team uniforms for each section - and that small school wrestlers can compete with the big schools.
"Back when I was in school, that's how it was," Stewart said of having a single state champion in each weight class. "I don't think it makes that big of a deal in wrestling. It makes all the difference in the world, but it matters in dual meets. A school like Spencerport or Fairport has twice the number of kids to fill their weight classes."
The Blue Devils are 14-5 and have several potential sectional champions that could contend for a state title.