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Thread: $70,000 in Changes at Williams Arena for Big Tens

  1. #1

    Default $70,000 in Changes at Williams Arena for Big Tens

    Starting bright and early Sunday morning, a group of 15 workers labored furiously on the Williams Arena and Sports Pavilion court, getting it ready for the Big Ten Wrestling Championships this weekend. In the course of six hours, the crew completely removed several rows of courtside seats, making the surface 20 feet wider in both the north and south directions. They also raised the floor 13 inches above the already-raised Williams Arena court.
    "I just went and checked it out and it looks incredible," Gophers head coach J Robinson said. "The way those guys worked, I might want to sign them up for my team."
    The quick project cost around $70,000 and was contracted to Skyway Event Services, who did extensive work at the 2000 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. It was paid for in full by the Big Ten and didn't come out of the $50,000 operating budget allotted for the event, according to associate athletics director Marc Ryan.
    "Our main focus is putting on an unforgettable event, and the Big Ten has given us the resources to do that," Ryan said. "For a lot of kids, this tournament is going to be the pinnacle of their careers. We don't take that lightly."
    The purpose of the renovation was to fit four mats on the floor at the same time, which is necessary for a tournament that will see 200 matches.



    The Gophers last hosted the championship in 1997 and held the event at Williams without a hitch, but new rules regarding when a wrestler is considered out-of-bounds have made wrestling mats bigger, and the regular Williams Arena floor would now barely be able to fit two mats.
    When Minnesota was notified it would be hosting the championships, officials hoped to hold the event at Mariucci Arena, where the Gophers men's hockey team plays, but they are hosting a home series this weekend. They then attempted to secure the Target Center downtown, but it is reserved for "Disney on Ice presents Disney/Pixar's 'Finding Nemo.' "
    With the high school boys' state hockey tournament at the Xcel Energy Center and college baseball at the Metrodome, Minnesota had to turn to Williams Arena.
    "Ideally it would've been held at an arena that can hold four mats," Williams Arena facilities manager Leon Frasee said. "But we found out in September that it'd have to be at Williams, so we made it happen."
    Big Ten wrestling liaison Brad Traviolia said because Minnesota sells more tickets than most schools, the conference wasn't hesitant about paying for the project, nor did they consider moving the site and coming back to Minnesota another year.
    "Minnesota is one of the places we look forward to hosting this tournament," Traviolia said. "Because it has such a strong wrestling fan base and it's a short drive from Iowa, we know the atmosphere is going to be electric. And, from a business standpoint, we know that they are going to generate a lot of revenue."
    Senior ticket office specialist Mike Chandler said that the arena will lose around 500 seats because of the renovation, but it won't impact revenue because the arena isn't sold out, and all lower level tickets are the same price.
    Chandler said the ticket office has sold around 5,200 tickets, well short of the 12,500 or so people the arena could hold for a wrestling event.
    All of the chairs with backs are sold out, but there is still a lot of room in the upper level, he said.
    "I don't expect us to sell out the arena, but that doesn't mean ticket sales have been disappointing," Chandler said. "With a good walk-up, and now that we're selling single-session tickets, I think it's going to be a pretty big crowd on hand for a pretty fun event."
    Noteworthy
    The Gophers have just one competition mat, which they will keep in the warm-up area in the Sports Pavilion during the tournament. The four mats in Williams will be borrowed, for a fee, from Hopkins High School.

  2. #2

    Default Re: $70,000 in Changes at Williams Arena for Big Tens

    That looks SWEET! For anyone who has never been there before, Williams Arena is pretty old but you can't beat it for atmosphere. It can get REALLY loud and the raised floor just has an absolutely amazing feel to it for the participants. They will feel as if they are in a gladiator ring. When it comes down to finals, I am assuming they will take it down to one mat in the center. Wow!

    Big Ten stepping up and spending some money. Good for them.
    "Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until they speak."

  3. #3

    Default Re: $70,000 in Changes at Williams Arena for Big Tens

    And then we turn around and write a goofy write up like this:

    "The defending Big Ten and national champion Gopher wrestling team looks to continue its recent success this weekend in front of a home crowd in Minneapolis. The Gophers hope to win their third straight conference championship.

    All eight starters were pre-seeded in the top eight in each of their respective weight classes. Undefeated and top-ranked sophomore Jayson Ness was the only Gopher to earn a number one seed in his weight class at 125 pounds.

    Williams Arena is also getting a makeover for the wrestling tournament. The elevated court has been raised and extended to create a larger area to accommodate the four-mat setup.

    Gopher wrestlers and head coach J Robinson spoke to the media before the tournament started."


    Its always two steps forward, one step back with regards to respect with our sport. If you don't know there are ten starting weights in wrestling, why are you writing the piece?
    "Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until they speak."

  4. #4
    Olympic Champ RYou's Avatar
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    Default Re: $70,000 in Changes at Williams Arena for Big Tens

    The four mats in Williams will be borrowed, for a fee, from Hopkins High School.

    High School ? 4 mats ? holy cow Clearly that is more matting than even UM has on hand. I've never been to a HS that 4 useful mats. Most around here have 2 at most, in condition for competition.

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    Default Re: $70,000 in Changes at Williams Arena for Big Tens

    Props to the Gophers for putting on a big show! I hope everyone in the region shows up to watch. They'll see some great wrestling this year.

  6. #6

    Default Re: $70,000 in Changes at Williams Arena for Big Tens

    Quote Originally Posted by RYou View Post
    The four mats in Williams will be borrowed, for a fee, from Hopkins High School.

    High School ? 4 mats ? holy cow Clearly that is more matting than even UM has on hand. I've never been to a HS that 4 useful mats. Most around here have 2 at most, in condition for competition.

    I was thinking the same thing. Some of the HS around the area are huge to say the least. They have the money and they probably hold a tournament every year and got tired of borrowing mats from neighboring schools.

  7. #7

    Default Re: $70,000 in Changes at Williams Arena for Big Tens

    Apple Valley should have jumped on that band wagon and not even charged. Thats great publicity.

    Is there such thing as borrowing for a fee? Isn't that renting?
    "Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until they speak."

  8. #8
    Related To Gage Trusty's Avatar
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    Default Re: $70,000 in Changes at Williams Arena for Big Tens

    Great set up! But I'd pull those frickin hoops down.

  9. #9

    Default Re: $70,000 in Changes at Williams Arena for Big Tens

    I was thinking the same thing. I also liked the idea of the Big Ten just purchasing four mats and moving them around each year. Can't cost that much to throw those mats in Trusty's Jeep and send them all over the midwest.
    "Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until they speak."

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