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Coaches to discuss timing of ESD tourney

Today at the Eastern South Dakota Conference wrestling meet in Brandon Valley, eight ESD coaches will discuss a possible change in the scheduling of the end-of-the-year conference tournament for the future.

Some coaches, like Mitchell's Travis Carpenter, believe the ESD tournament is too close to the regional and state tournaments and should be moved to an earlier date. Other coaches, such as Huron's Dan McCarty, think otherwise.

"It's the perfect way to end the season," McCarty said. "I want to keep it just the way it is."

Not so, says Carpenter.

"This is a pretty tough tournament," he said. "I've seen a lot of goofy things happen in this tournament with injuries that have kept kids out of a regional. It's just not necessarily a great time of year for it."

Today's discussion -- which will take place before the wrestlers hit the mat to determine who's all-conference -- will take place among Carpenter and McCarty, along with coaches from Pierre, Brandon Valley, Brookings, Aberdeen Central, Watertown and Yankton.

Carpenter said his ideal end-of-the-year scenario would be to have his team's final dual take place during the current weekend of the ESD Conference tournament, which he said could be held in the middle of December.

"It would be nice to have that week to recoup before the regional tournament instead of the ESD," he said. "It's rough when you go to the ESD conference and get beat up then go to the regional."

Yankton coach Ryan Hage agrees.

"I think the timing of the tournament is maybe not ideal being right before region wrestling," he said. "I think it maybe diminishes the importance and the prestige of the ESD tournament because coaches are forced to hold wrestlers back for fear of injury or illness before regions."

McCarty's view is the complete opposite.

He said he believes the conference tournament helps his team get ready for the regional and state tournaments and shows who the best wrestlers are in each weight class.

"I don't think you're wrestling at your best in the middle of the season," McCarty said. "You have kids that are moving around in weights. Some of the kids will be up or down, and they're trying to figure out what's best for their team."

Mitchell Activities Director Geoff Gross, who puts together all of Mitchell's athletics schedules each season, said even if the coaches determine a change is necessary, it's still two years away from happening.

"It's not something that could happen for next year, because we already have contracts signed through next year," Gross said, "and it's going to be tough to switch, too. It would have to be something that would fit in eight teams' schedules, and that will be a difficult situation."

Carpenter and Aberdeen coach Toby Bryant listed the third weekend in December as a possible date for a future tournament.

This season, six of the eight ESD teams had tournaments on Dec. 19, and only Brandon Valley and Huron had a dual, which was against each other.

If at today's meeting the coaches conclude to move the tournament, Gross and the rest of the conference ADs could get together at their annual spring meeting to discuss further changes.