In what is almost as much a reunion as it is one of the state’s best invitationals, the annual Tiger Holiday Classic wrestling tournament will return Monday and Tuesday to Chapel Hill High School.
“The Tiger” draws 33 teams to Chapel Hill High, including many of the state’s best wrestlers. This year’s field includes entrants from 2013 Tiger champion and 2014 state 4A finalist Fayetteville Jack Britt, two-time defending 2A state champion Newton-Conover, and five-time dual-team state champion Orange.
“We start each year the day after The Tiger getting commitments from the current teams and starting to look at how we will have good squads next year,” said Chapel Hill coach Tripp Price. “We want to try and get the top teams and top wrestlers in the state and surrounding states.”
Out-of-state teams participating in The Tiger this year are Franklin County (Va.), Galax (Va.) and Spartanburg (S.C.) Byrnes.
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“Our kids get to see the state’s best competition. It helps them start getting ready for February and the state tournament,” Price said.
Price and Chapel Hill co-coach Jared Campbell, a CHHS alum, work most of the year to organize the event that gets a lot of repeat visitors. More than one visiting coach over the years has remarked about the family atmosphere of the The Tiger.
“A lot of these coaches we only see at here and at the state tournament,” Price said. “Plus, with it being the holidays, we have tons of ex-CHHS wrestlers in town, along with other area wrestlers from Hillsborough and Durham.”
Teams will gather at Chapel Hill around dawn Monday, getting ready for weigh-ins and the start of opening rounds at 9 a.m. Tuesday’s action begins at 8:30 a.m.
Tournament passes cost $15, while single-day tickets are $10.