Smethport Web – by Jessica McKeirnan
On Saturday, January 30th, hundreds of wrestlers from Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and West Virginia will converge at Smethport Area High School for the third annual Battle for the Belt Tournament, joining local teams from such communities as Port Allegany, Cameron County, St. Mary’s, Bradford, Kane, Shinglehouse, and Sheffield.
The tournament originated with the Smethport Jr. Wrestling Club, which has over 50 kids in the program. Head coach Cory McKeirnan, along with his volunteer coaching staff, teach more than just wrestling moves. The kids learn self confidence, responsibility and discipline, while forming lasting friendships.
Three years ago the club took a leap into a new direction by creating a “Battle For the Belt” Tournament in which the winners from each bracket receive a leather championship belt. Those who place 2nd, 3rd, and 4th receive custom designed medals as awards.
There will be 1st to 4th place team trophies, starting at 3 feet tall. Along with these awards, there will be a 3-1/2 foot trophy for the fastest pin of the day donated by the family of Harold Bell.
The tournament starts at 9:00 am Saturday morning and runs through mid-afternoon. This event is a must-see for anyone who has any interest in wrestling or has ever participated in the Jr. Wrestling program. Of course, the event is open to the public. Admission is $3.00 for adults and $2.00 for students.
Over 300 wrestlers are confirmed for the tournament. The cut off is 450. Over 2,000 people are expected to attend this event.
J.I. Tees will be selling shirts with a custom design with all the participants’ names screen printed on the back. There will be other vendors at the event as well.
This tournament would not be possible without the help of the following sponsors:
T.R. Weaver Trucking
McKeirnan’s Buses and Towing
Spittler Well Service
Crosby Sons of the American Legion
V.F.W. Post 2497
V.F.W. Club 2497
Northern Tier Inc.
James Hart Construction
C. Moses Excavating
Hamlin Bank and Trust Company
Lakeside Tire and Auto
Steve and Amy Bell
James K. Angell
Priority Care Ambulance
H&S Pet Animal Hospital – Dr. Dave Rumsey
Northwest Savings Bank
Farmers Valley Inn