With all the state qualifying action going on right now at high schools across the country, prep wrestlers and their parents will be spending a lot of time at tournaments far away from home.

Upperclassmen that have been down this road before know what to expect from the non-wrestling aspects of these events, and thus have the luxury of focusing only on their upcoming matches. First-time participants, on the other hand, don’t have the benefit of prior experience and should therefore review the following tips before heading off to the tourney:

  • If not traveling on a team bus, be sure your parent or other driver knows exactly how to get to the tournament location
  • Have your parent and coach exchange phone numbers so contact can be made if necessary
  • Pack an extra set of wrestling gear, including a singlet, pair of socks, headgear, and shoes so you have familiar backups if anything goes wrong with your primary equipment
  • Toss some large plastic or Ziploc bags into your gear bag for easy segregation of used, sweaty wrestling apparel
  • Bring hand sanitizer, soap, travel-sized shampoo, towels, nail clippers, and any other toiletries you may need for cleaning up afterwards
  • Pack enough food and snacks for the whole day, sticking to healthy choices such as fruit, nuts, string cheese, and energy bars
  • Carry a reusable water bottle and be sure to refill frequently at the venue’s drinking fountains
  • Although first-aid personnel and equipment should be readily available at the venue, it doesn’t hurt to have your own supply of antibacterial cream, Band-Aids, gauze pads, medical tape, and an OTC pain reliever to quickly treat minor injuries
  • Bring your homework, MP3 player, books, magazines, or similar items to help you stay occupied during downtime

Nothing can ruin a wrestling tournament faster than getting lost on the way to the event or discovering that you forgot to pack something important. If you’re traveling to regionals, sectionals, or state for the first time, be sure to review these tips before heading out the door.