The “Beast of the East” high school wrestling tournament at the University of Delaware will bring more than two days of pinfalls and takedowns to Newark.
800 wrestlers, their coaches and their fans are expected to spend over a million dollars combined at local hotels, restaurants, shopping and other expenses. 85 percent of the athletes are coming from outside of the state, according to Delaware Sports Commission Executive Director Matthew Sparks.
While “The Beast” is one of the nation’s premiere high school wrestling tournaments and has been around for a long time, the one-year-old Sports Commission is involved with its continuing success as it looks to lure other events to the First State.
“This is a very large event, and it shows our capability of coordination, of getting and rallying the community behind such events,” Sparks says. “It’s a staple, it’s a great event that’s every year.”
The Sports Commission is also partnering with the Delaware Wrestling Alliance, which sponsors and organizes the tournament taking place Saturday and Sunday at the Bob Carpenter Center. The DWA has awarded $546,000 in athletic scholarships since its inception in 1996, $60,000 this year.
Sparks says the community of wrestlers, fans and coaches is “as strong a sports community as any.”
The Commission is also working to bring other multi-day sports tournaments to Delaware. The UD will host the 16-team American Collegiate Hockey Association tournament during the first week of March at the Fred Rust Ice Arena. The Senior League Softball World Series is held in Roxana, Sussex County each August.
Saturday’s opening day of the Beast of the East tournament coincides with the Blue Hens’ home playoff game against Georgia Southern, which kicks off at noon at Delaware Stadium.