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No state wrestling in Rochester

By Brian Hillabush

The Democrat & Chronicle reports today that  the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Wrestling Tournament will not be held in Rochester again, until at least 2013.

Last year's tournament was held at the Blue Cross Arena and was a treat for area wrestling fans, that had a much shorter drive than Albany to watch the event.

Section 5 officials were pushing to have the state rotate the tournament each year with Albany, but the NYSPHSAA just accepted a bid by the Times Union Center in Albany to host the event until 2013.

I can guess that money was a huge reason why, but the NYSPHSAA might have had some other reasons why Rochester won't get another shot to host the tournament for a while.

The Blue Cross Arena is a great place to host large events, but there were a couple of major issues that upset a lot of people last year. 

The biggest was the parking and traffic.

The most common complaint people that attended the tournament had was that there was simply no place to park. In order to get a decent parking spot (which I believe cost $15 per day), you had to arrive well before the opening round matches and leave your vehicle where it was. If you showed up even an hour after the first match of the day, you were looking at a 20 minute walk in freezing cold conditions.

Rochester vastly underestimated the amount of people that are high school wrestling fans and did not prepare for the amount of vehicles that were in the city. There weren't enough police officers to direct traffic and people often had to sit and wait for traffic problems to be resolved by officers, which were understaffed and were doing all they could in order to try to maintain order.

Another issue that was not a problem for fans, but was for state officials and the media was the wireless Internet was down on both days. The state site was supposed to be updating results as each match ended and because of an unexplained lack of Internet access were not able to do that.

Media members from all over the state that were reporting the event could not get updates and stories out in a timely manner. We were told that our options were to go find a coffee house with free Internet or go over to the hotel across the street and pay for wireless access. I drove back to Batavia to submit my stories, but wound up pushing deadline for some stringer work I was doing for Varsity 845.

It is a shame that a great tournament will not be in Rochester for a long time, or possibly ever again. Money and mismanagement are the reasons.


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