Collegiate wrestling is an arcane combination of techniques, rules, strategies, positions and about a dozen other variables. It's a thinking sport; pure reaction and raw athletic talent can win a match, but the more successful wrestlers are fighting intellectually as well as physically. To the noncombatant, the sport may seem impenetrable. But wrestling's intricacies are also part of its allure. Learning to appreciate a reversal as much as a near-fall, recognizing a leg turk or a double grapevine as it happens — even just learning the strange poetry of the terminology — is fun. But more of the fun comes in when actually witnessing a hard-fought match, as equally matched grapplers try every technique they know to outfight and outwit their opponent. The NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships promise many such hard-fought matches. The No. 1-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes are sending nine wrestlers to compete, including Big Ten wrestler of the year, Brent Metcalf (a 149-pounder). There are two sessions daily Thursday through Saturday (March 20 through 22) at the Scottrade Center (South 14th Street and Clark Avenue; www.scottradecenter.com or 314-241-1888). Single-session tickets are $9 to $24; session-six tickets are $15 to $32. Visit www.stlsports.org for the full schedule of matches and related championship activities.
March 20-22, 2008