It was a raucous weekend in East Lansing for the 2018 Big Ten Wrestling Championships. This was my fifth consecutive attendance of what is an event that never lets me down. It's such an important tournament with a large, passionate drove of fans but with it rotating campuses it means a school hosts (in theory) once every 14 years. That is part of the charm for me exploring a new campus each year with some of my best buddies while making new ones, but that can also bring about it's challenges.
This year was a lot different as Michigan State is the closest Big Ten institution to my residence. For this, we rented a bus and commuted. We may not have if East Lansing had a hotel/arena/restaurant district, but the land grant school is away from the capitol area.
There are restaurants to walk to but many of them were overwhelmed as apparently word didn't get out that there would be a fair amount of people looking for food between sessions nearby. We ended up eating at the 4th restaurant we tried. The walking distance is key to not have to move vehicles though so that all is basically a wash on my unofficial scorecard.
Breslin Center parking was fine as there weren't any other events going on. It's nice to find spots, but nothing may ever top Indiana where it seemed like they didn't care. The arena itself was fantastic. The 2x2 mat setup made for great sight lines, video board updates were on point, and the temperature was good. There appeared to be a good amount of floor room for coaches, wrestlers, and media as well. The flames for the finals with the lights down was pretty cool. My daughter certainly enjoyed them (she was dragged there with me Sunday).
In review, Michigan State is not the optimal location. Their program doesn't have a loud, large fan base and East Lansing is not a park your car at the hotel Friday and pick it up on Monday walk/eat/drink and watch Wrestling weekend. However, a great arena and a lot of parking made for a solid venue.
2019 Big Ten Wrestling Championships will be hosted by Minnesota University.