CYPRESS — The 19th annual CFISD Invitational Wrestling Tournament – the largest boys’ and girls’ varsity invitational across the nation—will return to the Berry Center on Jan. 7-8.
As in previous years, the tournament is expected to draw nearly 80 boys’ and girls’ teams from programs throughout Texas. The invitational will feature 16 total wrestling mats on both the Berry Center arena and conference center floors.
The Berry Center will also—for the seventh consecutive year—serve as a showcase for the UIL Wrestling State Tournament scheduled for Feb. 18-19. That is an extra incentive for teams to compete in the invitational.
“Coaches like to 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. “We run this tournament just like the state tournament, so it becomes a dress rehearsal, but it’s double the size of state.”
In addition to competing in the same venue as the state championships, the tournament field is a big draw for teams and competitors.
Every boys’ and girls’ weight class should feature multiple participants currently in the top-10 rankings in the state. A number of these matches could occur again at the state meet.
“Participants who place in the top eight at this tournament have a chance to place at the state tournament,” Ray said. “The competition is that tough here. The tournament sets the kids up and lets them know where they stand in the state.”
The 19th annual competition will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 7, and conclude at approximately 8 p.m. that evening. Wrestling will pick up again at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 8, 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 the tournament one many programs continue to return to year after year.
“One of the main reasons is the efficiency,” he said. “With the help from everybody from coaches to 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 well.”
Admission prices will be $5 and sold online only. There will be QR codes outside of the arena to help for walk-up purchases. Ticket sales will open Monday, Jan. 3 at 8 a.m., with separate ticket links for Friday, Jan. 7 and Saturday, Jan. 8 admission.