BLOG: Central Pa. teams to hold outdoor wrestling meet

Steve Heiser

Central Pennsylvania scholastic wrestling fans may want to pull their long johns and winter parkas out of storage.

They'll likely need them come Saturday, Dec. 10.

Iowa's Nathan Burak, left, battles Oklahoma State's Nolan Boyd in their 197-pound match on the football field at Kinnick Stadium, on Saturday, Nov.14, 2015, in Iowa City, Iowa. The outdoors wrestling meet drew a record crowd of more than 42,000. Camp Hill will play host to Pennsylvania's first outdoors wrestling match on Saturday, Dec. 10, vs. Newport at Siebert Park Stadium.

That's when two of the better small-school mat programs in District 3 are scheduled to collide in the "Outdoor Classic" at Siebert Park Stadium in Camp Hill. It's being billed a the first-ever outdoor wrestling match in the state.

Camp Hill is set to host Newport, with the junior high contest scheduled for noon, followed by the high school varsity match at 1 p.m.

For York County wrestling fans interested in attending, it will be very quick jaunt up Route 15. Camp Hill is located in Cumberland County and just a few minutes from York County's northern border.

Right now, the long-range forecast for Dec. 10 is not especially promising, according to The high temperature that day is expected to be 42 degrees with a 60 percent chance of precipitation, snow transitioning to rain and 9 mph winds.

That could be more than somewhat nasty for athletes who typically wear little more than relatively skimpy singlets. Still, wrestlers and wrestling fans are traditionally a very hardy breed. Provided the safety of the wrestlers can be assured, a little suspect weather shouldn't bother them too much.

Besides, the meet is more than a week away and long-range forecasts are notoriously fickle.

Hopefully, the weather turns out decent because this has the potential to be a fun and competitive event.

Outdoor wrestling has become trendy at the major college level in recent years.

The Iowa wrestling team shattered the NCAA attendance record on Nov. 14, 2015, in the first meet ever held in an NCAA Division I football stadium. The Hawkeyes beat Oklahoma State 18-16 at Kinnick Stadium before a crowd of more than 42,000. Penn State held the previous mark of 15,996 set in 2013.

Less than two weeks ago, Rutgers and Princeton drew the second-largest crowd in NCAA dual history on Nov. 19 at High Point Solutions Stadium, where the Scarlet Knights defeated the Tigers, 19-16. Later that night, at the same site, Penn State dominated Rutgers in a Big Ten football game, 39-0.

Now the outdoor wrestling rage is scheduled for the scholastic level right here in central Pennsylvania. The wrestling mat will take center stage on the 50-yard line of Siebert Park’s turf field.

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It should be a highly competitive event featuring two strong small-school programs. Camp Hill and Newport each qualified for last year's District 3 Class 2-A Team Tournament. The Lions finished 12-5, while Newport ended up 18-3.

General admission is $3 for students and $5 for adults. Thankfully, the concession stand is scheduled to be open, because coffee and hot-chocolate sales will likely be through the roof.

Wrestling is a sport that has suffered from some declining interest in recent years. Many — if not most — local high schools have trouble filling out a complete lineup. On the college level, many institutions have dropped the sport completely.

Outdoor wrestling is an opportunity to draw some much-needed attention to one of the world's most-ancient sports.

The Camp Hill event promises to generate interest throughout the state and beyond.

All that's needed is a little cooperation from Mother Nature and a strong turnout from the regional wrestling community.

The young wrestlers should take care of the rest.

Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at