Continuing its focus on youth sports - and the families and money they bring to the area - the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau on Wednesday announced a national wrestling tournament will be held here.
The USA Wrestling Cadet National Duals will be held at the York Expo Center during the summers of 2015, 2016 and 2017. From June 9 through 13, the duals will be held at Utz Arena. In 2016 and 2017, the wresting tournament will be held at Memorial Hall.
Overall, the event will yield a $5.5 million economic impact to York County, said Anne Druck, president of the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
More than 1,000 young athletes, who are ranked the best in each state in the 15-16 age range, will compete in York next year.
The four-day event will also attract their families, scouts, college coaches and other visitors to the county.
"The northeast is the hotbed of wrestling. We're expecting record levels of attendance," said Van Plocus, state chairman of the Pennsylvania Amateur Wrestling Federation.
Winning the bid: It's the first time any Pennsylvania site or venue in the northeast has hosted the national tournament, and the local tourism bureau tried to win the bid for the duals during the last six years.
Why York County won the bid this year is largely because "once the athletes get to the airport, the CVB is taking care of them," Plocus said.
In the deal, the local tourism bureau will provide transportation for the athletes from Baltimore, Harrisburg and Philadelphia airports to hotels and the York Expo Center.
And those athletes are "the best of the best," Plocus said.
"These will be the Olympians of the next decade," he said.
Former participant: Quentin Wright, a Penn State graduate and two-time NCAA wrestling champion, includes the Cadet National Duals on his resume and is training for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
The Centre County resident said the Cadet National Duals are a huge event for young wrestlers because they compete against the best guys in every state.
"These are most likely future all-stars and guys who are serious about one day winning NCAA championships. That draws attention from across the country. Every college coach will be there," Wright said.
Continuing a trend: It also puts a lot of attention on York County and helps the area carve its niche as a destination for youth sports, local leaders said.
The announcement about the wrestling tournament comes two months after the tourism bureau announced the Keystone State Games, Pennsylvania's largest youth sports tournament, will be held during the third week of July in 2015, 2016 and 2017 at several venues throughout York County.
Those games will mean a $42 million economic impact to the county, Druck said.
"Attracting youth sports has been a lucrative model" for the local tourism industry, she said.
"Gettysburg has its battlefields, Lancaster has Amish country, and we have the facilities for youth sports," Druck said.
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