Technology boom

By Paul Harder, The Observer December 18, 2013 12:54 pm

Oregon wrestling comes into the age of technology with new software

Something has spread from Wisconsin all the way to Oregon, and it’s not going anywhere. But, don’t fear. It’s actually something helpful — at least if you’re a fan of wrestling. 

Trackwrestling, a software program, made its way to the Muilenburg Tournament this season, and for the most part made things run better than ever. Essentially, it’s bringing the sport of wrestling into the technology age. 

The one scare came when a whole bracket was deleted after a button was hit, but things went back to normal after a brief influx of adrenaline for the tournament directors.

Change can be scary, but any doubts went away after a couple of chats. First, I had a nice talk with Brad Garrett. No, not the actor from “Everybody Loves Raymond”, but the head of wrestling at the Oregon School Activities Association. 

Garrett has gently pushed wrestling coaches this way — because it’s what they’ve asked for. And, it actually makes sense — not everything that happens within the OSAA building does.

The main reason behind the push to the software is to make the seeding for the state meet make more sense. In the past, the seeding of the state meet was based off past results, meaning from the previous year. However, with the new software the seeding will now be based off what a wrestler has done for the given season. I think that’s what everyone should want.

“We just wanted to meet the needs of what the coaches wanted,” Garrett said. 

The OSAA should get a pat on the back for this, again positive reinforcement for doing things right.

Spectators will find it like a wrestling sanctuary. Tracking events in real-time is now a possibility. As I was making my way around the plentiful spread in the media and coaches hospitality room, coaches were following another tournament across the state. Before, this would not have been a possibility as match sheets were all hand-written by scribes and transported via horseback to the participating teams and newspapers. OK, who was slightly embellished.

Now, with the click of a button anyone in the world that wants the results can have them. Plus, the OSAA is hoping to incorporate all of this into the state meet. Real-time scores from every mat that has a match going on. It seems too good to be true.

With any new thing the immediate question is about cost. I was assured by Garrett that Track Wrestling isn’t out to bankrupt schools, so we have that going for us. It’s a minimal 77 cent cost per school per wrestler. in a world where time is money, coaches would probably pay more. At least that’s how Muilenburg Tournament director Matt Wollcut made it sound. Instead of visiting coaches sitting behind their own computers for hours after a match, they can now watch football on Sunday — and who doesn’t enjoy that?

So, chalk it up as one of those rare win-wins for both sides, and sleep better knowing that wrestling results are just a click away.