Is home-mat advantage really an advantage? |

Is home-mat advantage really an advantage?

Baron Zahuranec
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE, Colorado ” Did the Bears really have home-mat advantage on Saturday?

Everyone says there’s some kind of a home-field advantage when it comes to athletics, at any level of play.

The Rifle wrestlers didn’t have to wake up at 4:30 in the morning or brave winter roads for six-plus hours this weekend. They played host at this weekend’s nine-team invitational.

But how much of an advantage did having the home mat bring to the Bears?

“I kind of like the long ones because it’s distracting at home,” heavyweight Tad Davis said of traveling to the likes of Denver or Vernal, Utah. “It’s just a lot different when you have the home crowd and you know everyone who’s there.”

While the Bears had to deal with all the extra hometown eyes watching them, there certainly are benefits to hosting a large invite.

“It’s pretty nice because you don’t have to wake up too early, and once the tournament is over you don’t have to travel anymore,” 140-pounder James Conrardy said. “The competition is the same wherever I’m at, but it’s nice having people that usually wouldn’t come. It’s neat to see who actually shows up and cheers us on.”

More sleep is a good thing. Bears coach John Wisniewski said so, and so did Dano Fugita.

“It’s nice to sleep in a little bit. I think the boys appreciated it,” Wisniewski said.

“I definitely enjoy the sleeping in part,” Fugita said. “I think it’s better for all our wrestlers because more fans cheering gets them more pumped up. You can hit the simplest move ever and it gets the crowd going.”

Having the home crowd behind their back, they could let the noise get to their heads. Like Davis, Kiefer Deere thinks there’s an extra bit of distraction when they’re at home.

“You think you can do whatever you want, but you can’t,” Deere said. “Some like to have a lot of family and friends there, but that can throw off concentration. You have to be careful out there.”

Like Deere said, some of these guys like to have an audience, others not so much.

What it really comes down to is how comfortable each wrestler is, in whatever the setting may be.

“I think the boys just had to maintain focus,” Wisniewski said. “Trying to perform in front of your peers, that can cause a lot of pressure.”

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