The Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling tournament, hosted by Tullio Arena in back-to-back years a few years ago, is headed to the Hershey-Harrisburg area for the next three years after the latest round of bidding for the state’s largest youth wrestling event. Erie was among the losing bidders. Below is the full release:
PA Junior Wrestling State Championships Return
to Hershey Harrisburg Region 2012-2014
PA Farm Show Complex & Expo Center will host Tournament’s 50th Anniversary
Harrisburg, PA – The Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau (HHRVB) today announced the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center (FSC) has pinned down the Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling (PJW) State Championships for three years starting March 2012, marking the tournament’s 50th anniversary.
From March 23-24, 2012, the state’s best young wrestlers ages 14 and under will compete on 12 mats in a double-elimination style tournament in the FSC’s Large Arena. The state championships are expected to draw 1,200 wrestlers to the Harrisburg-based venue and contribute approximately $1.3 million to the region’s economy each year. PJW chose Hershey Harrisburg and the FSC over venues in Pittsburgh, Erie and Wilkes-Barre.
The successful bid to host this prestigious youth wrestling event in the Hershey Harrisburg region was led by Wrestle for a Cure, Inc. Executive Director Norm Dallago in conjunction with the state’s Area XI wrestling region, HHRVB and support from the FSC’s Executive Director Pat Kerwin. Dallago served as the PJW State Championship tournament director in Hershey in 2005.
Dallago is excited to bring the State Championship back to Harrisburg after a six year absence. “Until about 2003, junior wrestlers from the middle and eastern parts of the state weren’t well represented in the state tournament for a sport that had more traction in Western PA. Now, all kids who aspire to wrestle in high school come to the state tournament and we’re thrilled to host them here in the Hershey Harrisburg region.”
Dallago’s commitment to young wrestlers is just as much about the life lessons learned through the sport as it is about any physical motivation. “My son used wrestling as a platform to set up a fundraising event to benefit a neighbor with Cystic Fibrosis. The response he received from people outside the wrestling community was overwhelming and it opened my eyes to how we can use wrestling events to benefit philanthropy and to promote wrestling in a positive light.”
To that end, proceeds from the 2012-2014 PJW State Championship Tournaments will be shared among various local charities and junior wrestling teams and clubs. Dates of the 2012-2014 PJW State Championship are March 23-24, 2012; March 22-23, 2013 and March 21-22, 2014.
Wrestle for a Cure, Inc. has a proven track record in producing wrestling events in the Hershey Harrisburg region. In 2010, the non-profit organization organized The Duals @ Hershey, a 16-team NCAA Division 1 college wrestling tournament at the Hershey Arena to benefit Cystic Fibrosis awareness. This November the charity event will return as “Wrestle for a Cure Duals” and will be relocated at the FSC.
The FSC and the Hershey Harrisburg region continue to draw a variety of large events thanks to the flexibility and state-of -the-art upgrades at the FSC facilities and the region’s impressive list of hotel accommodations, restaurants and attractions. In June 2010 the HHRVB organized the purchase of the new SnapSports® ShockTower® indoor sports surface system being used at the FSC in March for the PJW.
HHRVB Sports Marketing Manager Gregg Cook says the Hershey Harrisburg region is a popular market for sports events. “Both the Harrisburg Senators and Hershey Bears hosted All-Star Games this season. The Big 33 Football Classic is going into its 54th year and the LPGA Futures Tour Pennsylvania Classic returns to Felicita this summer. Now, we are excited about the opportunity to build on our great wrestling history with the return of the PA Junior Wrestling Championships for the next three years,” Cook says.
For hotel rooms and local attractions in the Hershey Harrisburg region, go to VisitHersheyHarrisburg.org or call 877-727-8573.