Disney Duals Preview

The AAU Scholastic Duals (aka, Disney Duals) commence this weekend near Orlando, Florida, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex located at Disney World. The event features four different competitions, two tiers each in a pair of competition categories. The District divisions (all-star and developmental) are open tournaments for any wrestlers within a geographical area, while the Community divisions (split based on school enrollment) are restricted to competitors that attend(ed) the same school with allowance for three wrestlers not from that school.

Starting on Sunday, June 12, and coming to conclusion on Wednesday, June 15, are the District divisions. The all-star competition is the elite level open team event that features some teams which look and feel like squads you saw at the NHSCA Duals (also folkstyle) last month and the Cadet/Junior Duals (Greco-Roman and freestyle) later this month. On the other hand, the developmental division is restricted to wrestlers who did not place at their high school state tournament this season.

The Community divisions start on Tuesday, June 14, and will end next Friday, June 17. There are two divisions of competition, split based on the student body size of the registered schools; however, squads can choose to wrestle up in Division 1 even if they have enrollment size commensurate to being in Division 2.

While roster information is not public at this time, one can make some informed guesses about who the primary contending teams could be in the District all-star and Community divisions. In what was an excellent move for the event, results and related information were available on Trackwrestling last year. It seems that this year's events will have results on Track Wrestling. However, we will have to confirm that closer to the event.

Last year Young Guns won their third straight Disney Duals title
The Young Guns Black team coached by Jody Strittmatter out of Western Pennsylvania has dominated its way to the championship in the District All-Star Division each of the previous three years. Until proven otherwise, they are the team to beat. Keep in mind that with just two wrestlers from outside their traditional footprint, they finished runner-up at the NHSCA Duals last month in a tournament where many of the elite teams had wrestlers from multiple areas of the country.

Last year's runner-up in the District All-Star Division was the Mid-Atlantic Blue squad, a club team that was the last to win the Disney Duals prior to the three-year Young Guns Black run. They are a perennially strong team in this event, featuring wrestlers mostly from the Lehigh Valley and other parts of central/eastern Pennsylvania.

The six other squads to earn a placement finish in the top bracket are all committed to return for this year's edition of the event (based on registration as of June 1st): CFWA-South Florida Lightning, Team Ohio Mafia, Team Iowa Black (runners-up in 2014), Ohio Grapplers, Michigan Blue, and Brawlers Elite Thunder. Others to watch in this event include Ozark Team STL (last year's name, slightly different this year), Team Vision Quest Colorado, Illinois Outsiders (possibly a similar entry to the one that won the NWCA Scholastic Duals in April), Contenders Elite, and Indiana Gorillas.

This year's Community Division(s) will receive a boost, as multiple Indiana teams will return to the field after not participating last year due to the timing of their state association's "dead/no-contact period" in relation to the Disney Duals. An addition note of caution when doing pre-analysis of this competition is that schools have varying strategies in terms of their team rosters: some schools may not have stronger wrestlers present due to them being on a District All-Star team or participation in the Cadet Duals, some schools choose to include graduated seniors while others do not, and some schools may choose to use "outside wrestlers" to bolster the overall team talent while others don't procure as strong "outside wrestlers".

The two-time returning champions in Community Division 1 are the Dakota (Illinois) Wrestling Nation. However, the teams to beat "on paper" would be a pair of schools that ended the 2015-16 season nationally ranked, No. 33 Brownsburg (Ind.) and No. 37 Olentangy Liberty (Ohio); Olentangy Liberty's entry is named Liberty Patriots. The Bulldogs qualified seven for their state tournament, five of them underclassmen; while Olentangy Liberty had eight state qualifiers, seven of them underclassmen.

Last year's event runner-up was PA Rampage, which is an entry consisting of primarily Central Dauphin wrestlers. That school qualified six for the state tournament in a loaded classification, four of which were underclassmen. The 2014 runners-up Avon (Ind.) return to the tournament this year, and their team was top ten in the Indiana state tournament this past season with four of five state qualifiers being underclassmen.

Other teams to watch include Brandon (Fla.), Mason (Ohio) -- entry is Ohio Comets, Penn (Ind.) -- entry is XTreme Gold, along with Social Circle (Ga.) -- champions of Division 2 last year.

Leading the way in Division 2 is Oak Harbor (Ohio) -- Oak Harbor Rockets, the runner-up in this tournament the previous two years. As a high school program, they qualified eight to the state tournament and return six of those for 2016-17; the Rockets will also enter as a joint pre-season favorite in Ohio's small-school division. Team Montana Sidney has finished third in this tournament the previous two seasons.


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david1212 (1) about 5 years ago
Western PA - Young Guns are dominate. They lost NHSCA to a team with wrestlers from I believe 8 different states. What nonsense is that? How many states are you allowed to pull wrestlers from to make a team? Young Guns did not even have Spencer Lee of Gavin Teasdale! Young Guns had all PA guys besides two kids from Iowa. I hope they destroy this field and remind everyone who has the best club in the country.
pjw134lbsAA (1) about 5 years ago
No mention of last years problems and subsequent plunge in attendance this year.
Wohltman (1) about 4 years ago
I cant wait to see you eat your words at Disney MR.PA ....... everyone knows PA is one of the top teams but I hope to see you in FL next week. your in for a surprise !!!!!