EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 15, 2013

Sports in a Minute


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — WAY OUT OF BOUNDS

I’ll admit it, the last time I attended any kind of state wrestling tournament was the Division 1 North sectionals at Haverhill High back in 2009.

Why do I remember this? Because, my wife was shooting photos for the Lawrence High yearbook, and my son, who was 8 and wouldn’t have known a half-nelson from a half-pound of salami, was there too. And I dished out $19 ($12 for adults, $7 for juniors) for their tickets.

Now, why do I bring this up?

It seems as though the MIAA wrestling folks have spoken, and because of the snow out last weekend, they will now jam three weeks of tournaments (sectionals, states and all-states) into two weeks.

They tell us the reason is so the elite athletes can compete in the New Englands.

If you buy that, you are a fool, or a propagandist. The MIAA is endangering student-athletes by jamming three big meets into nine days.

Why? Because they can’t bring themselves to give up a weekend of revenue. Of course, this is the MIAA which has brought us three football games in a 10-day stretch, just to jam the playoff games in.

Get out your wallets and hit the ATM. My guess is they will bump the ticket prices up again, because they certainly won’t draw as well at the state divisional meets on Tuesday and Wednesday as they would have on Friday-Saturday.

The simple solution was eliminate the all-state meet. Most of the coaches hate it anyway, at least they did the three or four times I actually covered the thing back in the day. There were two reasons it didn’t happen.

1. Cash.

2. It eliminated the Mass. coaches’ top excuse when Timberlane Regional dominates the New Englands, yet again. That excuse, of course, is that the NH run is a week easier to New Englands than the Bay State’s rigorous grind.

COMBAT ZONE AT ROCK

Rodrigo “The Young Lion” Almeida makes his return to the mixed martial arts scene, helping anchor a fine card when Combat Zone’s March Madness invades Rockingham Park on Friday, March 1.

Almeida (9-2), who fights for Team Intenze 978, will return after a long (knee) injury layoff. He will take on Maine’s Josh Parker (4-5) as part of the Combat Zone 43 card.

Unbeaten Cody Anderson will take on Ryan Hodge in the main event.

For more information, go to www.czmma.com.

NOW THAT’S SCHEDULING

Don’t ever tell me that Central Catholic is afraid of anyone in boys hoop. Remember, this is a team that added St. Anthony’s of Jersey City over Christmas break.

If things break right in the IAABO Board 130 Classic Tournament and CC sees No. 10 Springfield Central in the second round, the Raiders will, in a seven-day stretch, face the Nos. 2 (St. John’s Prep), 5 (North Andover), 10 and 14 (Andover) teams in the state. Oh, yeah, a meeting at No. 11 Lowell also looms next week.

That deserves a wow.