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Why Did the Dapper Dan Screw Hunter Catka?

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In case you missed it, the organizers of the Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic, aka the Dapper Dan, announced that they are dropping the 285lb weight class, apparently for this year only, from the March 15 all-star dual, thereby denying PA HWT superstar Hunter Catka the chance to compete. 

Is it justified?  And shouldn't they reconsider?

The explanation for the weight change is here:  http://wrestlingclassic.com/   Click the "Weight Class Change Explanation" link.

The organizers state that they "decided to drop the 113 lbs. and 285 lbs. weight classes and replace them with two 138 lbs. and 195 lbs. weights."  

Why?

Because, they explain, it is in "the best interest of the event" and "the goal to provide the fans with the best senior high school wrestlers," an overabundance in other weights and, my personal favorite, "the lack of top tier high school seniors in Pennsylvania."    

That's not a crazy explanation as it pertains to 113, where there's often a dearth of top-tier seniors, but 285?  Really?  Lets talk about Hunter Catka. 

He's the #1 ranked Heavyweight in the country, per Flo and pretty much everyone.  He's a former state champion.  He has two losses in the last 3 years -- one to Nate Schon as a soph (which he avenged at states, taking 1st), and an upset as a junior to Erie's Crosby in the state quarters (which he avenged 9-0 in the 3rd place match).  He's undefeated this year (34-0), Beast champion, he's bonused in EVERY match, with only 3 matches going the distance.  Committed to Va Tech.  And if you've ever seen him wrestle, you'd see he's one of the most athletic and entertaining heavies out there.

Not "top tier"?  Not among "the best high school wrestlers"?  The consensus national #1?  Seriously?

I have no inside information, but my guess is that its driven by a desire to make room for Sam Hillegas and Luke Stout, both WPIAL guys, in the Pittsburgh area where the event is organized.  Hillegas is poised to be a 3x'er, but his 138lb spot would be taken by Beau Bartlett, who beat him this year.  And 195lb Stout is the AAA favorite, but is also a 0x champ, and in the same weight as Gaige Garcia, a returning AA champ from the NE region.  Assuming both win states, there's no objective criteria to pick Stout over Garcia, as both beat Malvern Prep's Nick Feldman 3-2, but Garcia would have by far the better career mark of 5-3-1-1.

I have nothing against Hillegas or Stout, and I get that WPIAL organizers want to look out for their guys, but there's lots of better work-arounds than eliminating a weight class that screws over one of PA's top seniors.  One, there's a WPIAL undercard, so you can always put Hillegas and Stout there -- as after all, over the course of the event, there's been lots of state champs in the undercard.  Two, even if you really want them on the main roster, just bump one of the 138/195lbers up or down -- there's a long history at the Dapper of doing exactly this.  Three, if you really want them on the main roster and don't want to bump anyone up or down, fine -- just have two 138s and 195s, and leave the others (or at least HWT) alone.  Its happened before (e.g. 2000, with two 119lbs, to accommodate Chris Fleeger and Justin Spates).  Do you really think anyone attending the event will *complain* about having to watch an extra match?  Oh the horrors!  If its a time constraint, fine, slice off a weak weight or two from the WPIAL undercard.

I don't know Catka, so maybe there's something I don't know.  Did he tell them he wasn't interested in attending?  Although even then, PA has the #6 HWT in the country too, also a senior, Colby Whitehill.  Did he steal Dapper Dan's girlfriend?  I can't figure it out.  Going to the Dapper Dan is a pinnacle of the high school career of the top PA wrestlers, and I can't think of any good reason why they would deny this honor to Hunter Catka, who is as deserving as they come.

If you agree, maybe some of you Twitter users can ping the Dapper folks at @PWrClassic to get some justice for Hunter.

Edited by BAC

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The other night while having a few adult beverages a friend suggested that the Dapper Dan (Pittsburgh Press Classic) use the college weight classifications and rules which I thought would be a great idea.  That would eliminate any thoughts of having 113/lb or even 120/lb due to the lowest weight classification becoming 125/lb.  No reason at all not to have 285/lb other than someone has a hidden agenda.  

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On 2/27/2020 at 7:51 PM, WPIAL#1 said:

first of all you do not know what is going on. Catka will be invited to the Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic when the timing is right! dont open your mouth til you know what is going on!

Hmm.  First post, huh?  You created an account just to respond to my post?  Sounds like you may have some inside information... on the organizing committee perhaps?  If you know what's going on, why don't you just spill?  Because a lot of folks on the eastern part of the state are pretty ticked at you guys right now.  Freezing out Catka (or Whitehill) to make room for Stout just because he's a WPIAL guy was a BS move and you know it.  Don't say "don't open your mouth" when YOU guys are the one who issued a press release about how you're eliminating HWT because PA doesn't have anyone good there this year.  If you're correcting that error, good, but do it publicly.   

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On 2/27/2020 at 7:51 PM, WPIAL#1 said:

first of all you do not know what is going on. Catka will be invited to the Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic when the timing is right! dont open your mouth til you know what is going on! if you dont know shut the F up!!!

Please explain when Catka will be invited. He is a senior this year. 
  
I hope you are a teenager or your post is really embarrassing. You sound like a butthurt kid

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7 hours ago, WPIAL#1 said:

How about Amos And Catka! they both weigh around 225!! Catka been in thenpicture from day one. Try not to post til PIAA states are completed.

If that’s the plan it is poorly conceived. What if Crosby wins at 220 — which seems likely, given that he just beat Schon? He sits at home? And if you “drop” Catka down to 220 (or find a catchweight) then Whitehill, the soon-to-be 2xer sits at home because HWT was eliminated?

I’m fine with a Catka v Amos match but that just screws over other guys. Whose boneheaded idea was it to have ONE guy for both of 220 and HWT (despite the abundant talent at those weights), while having two 195lbers — and announcing it before the postseason even started?

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19 hours ago, BAC said:

If that’s the plan it is poorly conceived. What if Crosby wins at 220 — which seems likely, given that he just beat Schon? He sits at home? And if you “drop” Catka down to 220 (or find a catchweight) then Whitehill, the soon-to-be 2xer sits at home because HWT was eliminated?

I’m fine with a Catka v Amos match but that just screws over other guys. Whose boneheaded idea was it to have ONE guy for both of 220 and HWT (despite the abundant talent at those weights), while having two 195lbers — and announcing it before the postseason even started?

Abundant of talent at 220 and 285? Yuor son must be at that weight or you absolutely no nothing about the senior class at those weights! Crosby got manhandeled by Amos at Powerade and if he looses to Schon who next in line genius!! Whitehill will be a two timer and would also get mauled by Catka. So bonehead what would you do??

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6 hours ago, WPIAL#1 said:

Abundant of talent at 220 and 285? Yuor son must be at that weight or you absolutely no nothing about the senior class at those weights! Crosby got manhandeled by Amos at Powerade and if he looses to Schon who next in line genius!! Whitehill will be a two timer and would also get mauled by Catka. So bonehead what would you do??

What would I do?  Same thing that's always been done:  Leave the weight classes as is.  See how PA states go, and move guys up/down as needed to fit the most deserving guys in.  Maybe, in extraordinary circumstances, add an extra weight, but only after states are over.

I'll tell you what I definitely would NOT do:  Delete the 285lb weight class where PA has two seniors in the top 5 including the #1 overall, claiming PA has no one "top tier" there.  And I wouldn't preemptively announce there's going to be two 138lbers and 195lbers, as you really don't know how that's going to happen until they wrestle.  (Hillegas lost to a junior this weekend.  Stout and Garcia are favored but you never know.)  And I'd try to avoid the blatant favoritism of WPIAL guys.

As for what happens if Crosby loses to Schon at 220:  You could (a) put in the AA champ if he's a senior, (b) drop down Catka to 220 and have Whitehill handle 285, (c) bump up either Stout or Garcia to face Amos, or (d) stick in Crosby anyway if he's runner-up, as he'd be 3x top 5.  But unfortunately the Dapper organizers killed options (b) and (c) by deleting the HWT class and doubling up on 195lbers before the post-season even started, so maybe you should take your concern to them.

Edited by BAC

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Seems to me the way to do it is, the best 13 guys 113-285, no matter if you need a 5th place guy say for 113. Then any two time champ who doesn't win/defend or just doesn't get chosen, or any 3 time finalist or 4 time top 3 with one title. Thinking back to the classic 2 timer vs 2 timer, whoever lost between Jones and Eckloff (Jones actually) should not have sat out. What kind of a wrestling fan would be upset because he has to watch 15-18 great matches a year, Too long, come late for pre-meet (Wpial) only problem is maybe you have trouble finding a bout for Jones (or Tony Koontz) 

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4 hours ago, RichB said:

Seems to me the way to do it is, the best 13 guys 113-285, no matter if you need a 5th place guy say for 113. Then any two time champ who doesn't win/defend or just doesn't get chosen, or any 3 time finalist or 4 time top 3 with one title. Thinking back to the classic 2 timer vs 2 timer, whoever lost between Jones and Eckloff (Jones actually) should not have sat out. What kind of a wrestling fan would be upset because he has to watch 15-18 great matches a year, Too long, come late for pre-meet (Wpial) only problem is maybe you have trouble finding a bout for Jones (or Tony Koontz) 

I agree.  Even if 113 lacks a medalist (which is unlikely) you can usually drop down a 120lber.  If there's an extra 2x'er, which is rare, usually they too can be squeezed in by bumping up/down to a senior-less weight.

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On 2/28/2020 at 11:57 AM, Bryan said:

The other night while having a few adult beverages a friend suggested that the Dapper Dan (Pittsburgh Press Classic) use the college weight classifications and rules which I thought would be a great idea.  That would eliminate any thoughts of having 113/lb or even 120/lb due to the lowest weight classification becoming 125/lb.  No reason at all not to have 285/lb other than someone has a hidden agenda.  

Why punish the lighter kids...

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11 hours ago, Mphillips said:

Why punish the lighter kids...

Correct, one of the two best wrestlers ever for Pa was, I think, at the lightest weight, Bobby Weaver I think wrestled at 98.  (other best Angle.)

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On 3/4/2020 at 9:40 AM, Mphillips said:

Why punish the lighter kids...

It's not punishing anyone!  By using the college weight classifications and rules everyone is on the same (playing field) mat.  The lightest weight in college is 125/lb so the 113/lb or 120/lb would just bump up to 125/lb if they wanted to compete.  If someone is extended an invitation and for whatever reason they don't wish to compete that is their personal choice.  

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31 minutes ago, Bryan said:

It's not punishing anyone!  By using the college weight classifications and rules everyone is on the same (playing field) mat.  The lightest weight in college is 125/lb so the 113/lb or 120/lb would just bump up to 125/lb if they wanted to compete.  If someone is extended an invitation and for whatever reason they don't wish to compete that is their personal choice.  

No they're not.

The 113 wrestling a 125 is in no way even.  Of course, they can decline the invite if they are too light.  Seems a bit like punishment...

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On 3/6/2020 at 10:09 AM, Bryan said:

It's not punishing anyone!  By using the college weight classifications and rules everyone is on the same (playing field) mat.  The lightest weight in college is 125/lb so the 113/lb or 120/lb would just bump up to 125/lb if they wanted to compete.  If someone is extended an invitation and for whatever reason they don't wish to compete that is their personal choice.  

So what you are saying is if you are not going to be capable, thru ability or size, to wrestle in college, don't bother to wrestle at all

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Catka going at 220.

Still they should have gone 113-285 with extras at 195, 160 and 138. (Seymour sure looks like he could go 113). I certainly would not mind sitting thru 16 bouts

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we all can agree that upper weights are severely watered down, not just in PA. so eliminate one the upper weights, just not the 285, which is a mainstay of any team. The anchor of a great team is the big guy.

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What a debacle. While I am glad to see Catka get an invite, the Dapper committee’s WPIAL-favoritism has screwed deserving guys out of their spot, as predicted. 

Up at HWT there sits a 2x PA champ, Whitehill, #6 in the nation and Pitt commit, who will sit at home, denied the chance to compete in Pitt’s gym before his future fans, because the Dapper people eliminated his weight class (claiming he isn’t deserving enough).

At 220, as predicted a senior won, Dorian Crosby, son of the great Melvin Crosby, knocking off the returning state champ (#7 Schon). Crosby is also the guy who kept Catka from being a 3x’er, and is nationally ranked. Crosby will now sit at home too.

Who benefited? The two WPIAL guys that I mentioned. This was all just a setup to hand out spots on the main card to WPIAL guys who weren’t tops at their weight, and who the Dapper committee apparently could not stomach putting on the undercard as they have in years past.

As others have said, I don’t even have a major problem with adding weights, though we could do without the WPIAL favoritism. (Hillegas has now lost 2 years in a row and Stout is just a 1x’er — both are studs, but certainly no non-WPIAL state champs got this honor.) But to do so at the expense of the guys who are legitimately tops at their weight is totally contrary to the statewide spirit of this event. And it really rubs salt in the wound for them to say they aren’t really deserving, when in truth this is all just WPIAL back-scratching.  

It’s a disgrace.  The organizers should be ashamed.

 

Edited by BAC

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On 3/1/2020 at 7:11 AM, WPIAL#1 said:

How about Amos And Catka! they both weigh around 225!! Catka been in thenpicture from day one. Try not to post til PIAA states are completed.

Would be a great match. 

 

But to the OP, I think a big part of the reason might be the fact that there are no real challenges for him, there seems to be no legitimate US seniors out there. 

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