Wooster (Ohio) High School's Beauty & the Beast Invitational, where wrestling and gymnastics meets take place in the same gym as one combined event, continues to prove that the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.
As reported by The Daily Record, preparation for the atypical event began Monday, when it took wrestlers, gymnasts and other volunteers about five hours to transform Wooster High’s gym into the all-purpose venue it performed as Saturday. The seventh year of the event delivered a unique experience for the athletes and a sense of community for the Wayne County programs involved — Wooster wrestling, Wooster gymnastics and Triway gymnastics.
“It’s bouncier, the energy’s bigger,” Wooster gymnastics head coach Debbie Knapic told the paper. “Routines go bigger. It’s just a ton of fun. It makes it worth the effort to move it up here to give them that memory to take with them.”
One goal of the event is to expose student-athletes to bigger crowds than separately held meets might otherwise draw. The gym's home bleachers were filled for most of Saturday's three-hour event, which saw Wooster sweep short-handed Akron North on the mat, and Olmsted Falls outscore Medina, Buckeye, Wooster and Triway in gymnastics.
“Seeing this many people packed in the stands — we have a three-row bleacher at our gym,” Triway gymnastics head coach Stefanie Richardson said. “It fills up, but it’s not quite like this.
“It’s a community event is what it ends up becoming instead of, ‘Oh, just another gymnastics meet.' "
Athletics administrators remain committed to the special event. “It’s really important to the athletes,” Wooster athletic director Joe Rubino said. “We’ll do anything we can to [do] this for them and continue giving them an opportunity to have success in that format.”