High school athletic seasons can be hectic, leaving little time for student-athletes to go watch their classmates participate in other sports. And as the long seasons near the end, a day off is always welcomed.
The solution for the Faribault High School wrestling and boys hockey teams? A bowling tournament.
Both squads got together Monday at the Bowling Center for a friendly competition — and a day off from practice. While the hockey players topped the wrestlers by an average score of 101.7-95.7, the final score wasn’t what this event was about.
“There’s more to sports than wins and losses,” hockey coach Brad Ryan said. “There’s more to sports as far as the social aspect, too.”
“We’ve been talking for a couple years thinking, ‘Maybe we should play football or do something...where we can build a little more camaraderie between these guys,’” wrestling coach Jesse Armbruster said. “It turned out to be a fun afternoon.”
Both coaches said they hope to turn the event into an annual gathering. They’re already working on putting together a traveling trophy, so the winner has more than just bragging rights for the following year.
On Monday, the lanes were divided up to include two wrestlers and two hockey players per lane. Senior hockey player Jack Helgeson said he bowled a 122.
“It was pretty good to show the wrestlers who’s better at bowling,” he said.
Wrestling senior Matt Purfeerst — whose cousin, Alex, recently won a state bowling tournament in Duluth — bowled around a 113, he said.
Matt said he didn’t seek any advice from Alex.
“I should have gotten some,” Purfeerst said. “I should have recruited him for the wrestling team for the day.”
Both Helgeson and Purfeerst said they know many of the players on the opposing teams, but Monday’s even served as a good way to meet wrestlers or hockey players they didn’t already know.
“We’re all so busy with our schedules. We’re competing on the same nights as basketball and hockey,” Armbruster said. “It’s tough to get to these places and cheer on your fellow classmates.”
Ryan said one of the most interesting moments of the night came when the food was brought out.
“Jesse comes over to me and points out that in every lane, all the hockey players are having pizza and hot dogs, and all the wrestlers aren’t eating at all,” he said.
Of course, Ryan’s players don’t have to worry about making weight like Armbruster’s do. When all was said and done Monday, however, both coaches deemed the event a success.
“I guess we’re probably both happy that it was in the bowling alley and not having wrestlers on skates or having hockey players on the mat,” Armbruster said. “I think it was a win-win for both. We had a great time.”
— Sports reporter Tyler Mason may be reached at 333-3119.