Saturday night, the West gymnasium will be in a constant roar. The wrestling team will host the annual Falcon Frenzy for the 21st year, beginning Friday, Dec. 4, and concluding with the eventful “Falcon Finals” on the following Saturday evening. This year’s tournament is one of the biggest in event history, hosting 28 teams from three different states with more than 550 participants.
The Falcon Frenzy is one of the major tournaments of the year for North Carolina wrestling, according to North Henderson wrestling coach Wayne Nock.
“Whoever wins the Falcon Frenzy is usually considered a favorite to win the state title in February,” Nock said. “I remember wrestling in this tournament when I was in high school, and the intensity and tradition remains the same.”
However, keeping that tradition is much easier said than done. Thanks to the help of more than 85 volunteers and families, the tournament serves as the biggest fundraiser of the year for the West wrestling program. One of these volunteers is friend of the wrestling program Jeff Littauer, who has run the Falcon Frenzy for the past nine years. According to Littauer, the job comes with many challenges, but is something he looks forward to every year.
“Every year we face a different challenge, but we have tremendous support from the parents and fans,” Littauer said. “The fact that this tournament is run smoothly and with minimal issues every year keeps teams coming back and has given the tournament a reputation of excellence.”
In this year’s tournament, Littauer plans on making it run better than ever before by allowing people to keep up-to-date with tournament results online.
“We’re trying a new program this year that will allow the fans to follow every second of this year’s tournament online,” Littauer said. “It will be a challenge, but we know it will make it a better experience for the wrestlers and fans.”
For many wrestlers, this will be their first Falcon Frenzy and their first taste of a truly competitive atmosphere, but for others, this tournament is about the athletes’ proving their reputation. For the past three years, West senior Colby Sousa has battled in the Falcon Frenzy with the hope of making it to the championship finals. Now a senior with one last shot at the tournament title, Sousa has set his eyes on the prize.
“I’m feeling confident right now,” Sousa said. “I’m hoping to win the tournament or at least place very high.”
In past years, Sousa has never placed above 4th in the Falcon Frenzy, and the West team overall hasn’t placed in the top 10 since 2012. However, Sousa has confidence in this season’s team that they could make a run for the tournament trophy.
“We’re young, but we have a great group of underclassmen who help us a lot in the long run,” Sousa said. “We’ve worked very hard this season and have been looking forward to this tournament for a long time.”
At this point in the season, the young West team has a 2-3 record in dual team competition, but Head Coach Jon Hardman has high hopes for the remainder of the season.
“I’m very proud of this team and the work they’ve put in so far this year,” Hardman said. “With their tough mentality, I know that nothing will stop them from achieving their goals.”
The wrestling team will host the 2015 Falcon Frenzy beginning at 5:00 on Friday, Dec. 4. The tournament will continue the following Saturday morning, Dec. 5 at 9 a.m. with the championship finals estimated to begin at 4:30 p.m. Saturday evening.
By Samuel Littauer
To follow the Falcon Frenzy online and to see live results, go to www.trackwrestling.com and search for “Falcon Frenzy” to keep track of all the action. Or just click on the link below.