A view of the Covelli Center (Photo/ ElevenWarriors.com)
Wrestling fans can get a good look at Ohio State's new wrestling facilities at the Covelli Center -- a new, intimate 3,700-seat arena, along with the Jennings Family Wrestling Center inside -- even before the Buckeye mat stars do ... thanks to a video and photos posted online this weekend.
Next week, Ohio State wrestling will make the much-anticipated move into its new home. However, the public will get an inside look at these new facilities before the wrestlers do, thanks to a video tour courtesy of Trackwrestling.com ... and a photo gallery at ElevenWarriors.com.
The half-hour video tour of Covelli Center's arena and wrestling center is conducted by Ohio State head wrestling coach Tom Ryan, and Kyle Klingman, formerly of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum who is now on the TrackWrestling.com staff.
"This place screams, 'We care,'" said coach Ryan as the two enter the new facility on the public concourse level, with the interior of the new arena and its playing floor clearly in view. "We're fortunate to have some donors and alumni who love wrestling and love the university and saw where we were, and knew we needed something better. And this is something better."
Ohio State wrestlers currently work out at Steelwood Athletic Training Facility, a couple miles west of the main campus ... and wrestle at St. John Arena, a 12,000-seat facility which has been a campus fixture for more than six decades.
How is Covelli Center better for the Buckeye wrestling program? For starters, it's more convenient for wrestlers. "The dorms are just over there," according to Ryan. "Where we are now (Steelwood), you got to get a ride from an upperclassman."
After a quick overview of the new arena, Ryan and Klingman take viewers into the Jennings Family Wrestling Center, a three-level facility that's an integral part of the Covelli Center. Their video tour starts on the second level -- the same floor as the main concourse of the arena. The focal point of the second level is the wrestling practice room, with five full-size wrestling mats. Arguably the most attention-getting aspect of the room is a rare sight in most other wrestling rooms -- daylight -- thanks to fourteen-foot-tall windows the length of the eastern wall to help brighten early-morning workouts.
A look at the Buckeyes' new wrestling room (Photo/ ElevenWarriors.com)
The Buckeyes' new wrestling room is not only spacious and bright ... it's also incredibly well-equipped. Cardio workout equipment is located at the south end of the room, while weights are off to the side. One of the coolest features: each mat has two cameras, so that wrestlers and coaches can play back a training session for analysis and review. A 25-foot flat screen and a Wall of Champions display have yet to be installed.
Upstairs from the wrestling room are offices, a meeting room and an alumni lounge, all with a view of the wrestling practice facility ... and the 3,700-seat arena.
Under it all on the lowest level -- "the nuts and bolts of the place" to quote coach Ryan -- are the locker rooms (one featuring 17 "elite" lockers for top team members, and the other, 50 regular lockers which still seem nicer than what one might expect outside a country club or professional sports team venue), along with showers ... a theater for viewing training sessions, actual matches and scouting opponents, as well as serve as a really nice study hall ... and a team space which Ryan describes as "family-room like" for athletes to relax after workouts and classes.
Ohio State wrestlers will get the grand tour of their new wrestling home this Tuesday, May 21. They'll start their offseason training session at Steelwood that morning ... then be transported by bus to Covelli Center for their first look and walkthrough.
Beyond the sneak-peak provided by the video and photos mentioned in this article, wrestling fans will have to wait six months ... when the Buckeyes will welcome Stanford for the first-ever dual meet at Covelli Center on November 10.