Normally, preparing for the John Goles Memorial Wrestling Tournament involves getting untangled from the Christmas lights, digging out the car and getting an extra-large hot beverage en route to Warren Hills.
But this year, it’s Christmas in July -- Saturday, to be specific.
Warren Hills will host eight teams and some individual wrestlers at 9 a.m. at Meadowbreeze Park in Washington Township for the “Summer John Goles” tournament.
The 2020 edition of the state’s second-oldest individual holiday tournament, usually held between Christmas and New Year’s Eve,. fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Blue Streak head coach Dave Sbriscia wasn’t willing to let it go that easily.
“Losing out on the Goles was something I was upset about,” he said.”We take pride in that tournament. There’s a lot of tradition with that tournament, a lot of history, and we hand out a lot of plaques for two-time winners, three-time winners. Our kids kind of got robbed of a season last year, and I am looking for opportunities to make up for that.”
The field will offer some familiar Goles faces in Newton, Manville, Hopewell Valley and Delaware Valley, plus South Plainfield, Watchung Hills, Bound Brook and, perhaps most intriguingly, Phillipsburg, in the first local look at new Stateliner head coach Brad Gentzle in action.
Sbriscia said some individual non-team wrestlers will be added to help fill up each bracket for Saturday, which will go on rain or shine under the park pavilion.
“We want to make sure the weight classes are filled,” he said.
Sbriscia expects four mats to be going all day, with the event wrapping up around 2:30 p.m.
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Brad Wilson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.