CYPRESS — The 17th annual CFISD Invitational Wrestling Tournament – the largest boys’ and girls’ varsity invitational across the nation – will return to the Berry Center on Jan. 4-5.
As in previous years, the tournament is expected to draw more than 80 boys’ and girls’ teams from programs throughout Texas and Louisiana. The invitational will feature 16 total wrestling mats on both the Berry Center arena and conference center floors for the seventh straight year.
The Berry Center will also – for the fourth consecutive year – serve as a showcase for the UIL Wrestling State Tournament scheduled for Feb. 22-23. That is an extra incentive for teams to compete in the invitational.
“Coaches like to come here and get a feel of the facility,” said Tim Ray, Cypress Ridge High School wrestling coach and tournament director, who took the event from an idea to reality in 2002. “I run this tournament just like the state tournament, so it’s sort of like a dress rehearsal, but it’s double the size of the state tournament.”
In addition, the tournament’s competition is a big draw for teams.
Every boys’ and girls’ weight class will feature multiple participants currently in the top-10 rankings in the state, according to Ray. A number of these matches may occur again at state.
“If they place in the top eight at this tournament, they have a chance to place at the state tournament,” Ray said. “The competition is that tough here. That really sets the kids up and lets them know where they stand in the state.”
The 17th annual competition will begin at 9 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 4, and conclude at approximately 8 p.m. that evening. Wrestling will pick up again at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 5, and the finals are scheduled to begin at approximately 3 p.m.
The CFISD Invitational will feature live updated scoring and brackets through the TrackWrestling website. Using the site, choose “Browse” and “Tournaments” to search for the CFISD Invitational.
Despite it being Ray’s vision, he credits a team effort in making this tournament possible and a reason many teams continue to return year after year.
“One of the main reasons is the efficiency that we run this tournament,” he said. “With the help from everybody in the district – not just the coaches but also the athletic department and the Berry Center staff. It just flows so well, it’s so organized and everybody’s on point. We take pride in the fact that we run it really well.”
Admission prices will be $5 for adults and $3 for students, with all tickets being sold at the door.
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