January 4, 2018
Cypress Lakes High School wrestler Joaquin Bautista competes in the CFISD Invitational at the Berry Center in January 2017. Bautista was the runner up in the boys’ 132-pound weight class. The 16th annual tournament returns to the Berry Center on Jan. 5-6.
Jan. 3, 2018—The 16th annual CFISD Invitational wrestling tournament – the largest boys’ and girls’ varsity invitational across the nation – will return to the Berry Center on Jan. 5-6.
The tournament is expected to draw more than 80 boys’ and 80 girls’ teams from programs throughout Texas, as well as one wrestling program from Louisiana. The invitational will feature 16 total wrestling mats on both the Berry Center arena and conference center floors for the sixth straight year.
The Berry Center will also – for the third straight year – serve as a showcase for the UIL Wrestling State Tournament scheduled for Feb. 23-24.
“We call it the ‘Extravaganza,’” said Tim Ray, Cypress Ridge High School wrestling coach and tournament director, who took the invitational from an idea to reality in 2002. “It is a great preview for the state tournament. When I started this tournament, it started at my high school.
“It’s grown exponentially, from 20 teams the very first year to what it is now 16 years later. It went from eight mats to now being 16.”
Cypress Falls High School wrestler Augustina Ijoma competes in the CFISD Invitational at the Berry Center in January 2017. Ijoma finished as the runner up in the girls’ 165-pound weight class. The 16th annual tournament returns to the Berry Center on Jan. 5-6.
According to Ray, every boys’ and girls’ weight class will feature multiple participants currently in the top-10 rankings in the state.
“If you place in the top eight in this tournament, you have a really good shot of making it to the state tournament,” he said.
The 16th annual competition will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 5, and conclude at approximately 8 p.m. that evening. Wrestling will pick up again at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 6, and the finals are scheduled to begin at approximately 3 p.m.
The CFISD Invitational will feature live updated scoring and brackets through the TrackWrestling website. Using the site, choose “Browse” and “Tournaments” to search for the CFISD Invitational.
Despite the idea coming from Ray, he credits the total team effort in making the invitational possible.
“From the athletic department at the Berry Center to the Berry Center staff, and all the coaches in the district,” Ray said. “We work as a team to make this go. It was my idea to start but there’s no way I could do this without the help of all them and they do a fantastic job.”
Admission prices will be $5 for adults and $3 for students, with all tickets being sold at the door.