Two weekends ago I attended the local league championship, the first step on the road to the California State Championship. I decided to score the finals with Takedown and post the scoring in real-time to our Twitter account (@takedownapp) and Takedown LIVE. A well-respected and very experienced tournament director ran this event using Trackwrestling's tournament software.
In preparation for scoring the finals, I downloaded from our database the twenty eight participating contestants and assigned each wrestler to the appropriate weight class. At 138 pounds, Takedown wouldn't assign one of the finalists because his Minimum Weight Class (MWC) was 145 pounds. Takedown's logic prevents a wrestler from competing at a weight class for which he or she is ineligible by virtue of having a non-qualifying MWC. I worked around the problem by changing the wrestler's MWC to 138 pounds and happily went about watching and scoring the finals.
Earlier this week I spoke with one of the league coaches and discovered that this wrestler had subsequently been disqualified from further post-season competition for competing at an ineligible weight class at league finals. I learned, too, that this same wrestler competed in-season below his MWC at a premier California tournament.
This situation is unfortunate because it could have easily been prevented. A few years ago, when I personally pitched the coach of the wrestler in question about using Takedown for his program, he demurred saying "I like to do things the old fashioned way, with paper and pencil." Expressing contempt for modern technology is a proud practice by many in the coaching ranks and often commands a certain amount of peer respect, as though not using today's technology makes a coach better or a team tougher. But, having a wrestler disqualified from post-season competition is a high price to pay, indeed, for the right to proudly say "we do things the old fashioned way." Had the coach used Takedown, there is a high likelihood that this situation would not have unfolded.
Just as distressing is the fact that Trackwrestling's tournament management platform didn't catch the error. After all, the California weight certification data is part of the Optimal Performance Calculator (OPC) database that is hosted by Trackwrestling. One might reasonably assume that Trackwrestling's tournament software would use the OPC to flag assignment of a wrestler to an ineligible weight class. In fact, I'm told by a Track admin and tournament director that the tournament software and OPC database are not integrated. So, the onus is on the coach to be aware of and use the OPC data to properly place wrestlers into.
In today's world, there's no reason for problems like this to occur. Wrestling coaches eschew technology with attendant risk and the price is often born, unfairly, by a wrestler. Coaches need to do better.