A match, some music and a show


WOODBURY — Wrestling with a little theater? East Ridge had that.

Athletics not your thing? Go enjoy some music in the high school cafeteria.

Need a laugh? Heck, East Ridge's Black Box had that, too.

East Ridge High School put together an all-encompassing night of entertainment on Thursday, Feb. 8. The Raptors' wrestling team took on Bloomington Kennedy in the unique setting of The Loft Stage, where the team won 38-31. Across the hall in the cafeteria, the school hosted its Valentine's-themed Coffee House. And down the hall in the Merrill Arts Center's Black Box, "Nunsense 2: The Second Coming" was in the midst of a performance.

According to East Ridge Activities Director Joel Olson, the cavalcade of events began with wrestling wanting to compete in a more unique setting. It also coincided with the school's winter week.

"The wrestling came about with my coach (Matt Everson) asking if that would be a possibility to have the mat sit on the stage and have a different change of pace," Olson said. "We got the ball in motion there. We talked to the theater people and they give us the green light. And as we got going, we said, let's make this bigger with theater and sports. We thought of the similarities."

After a few matches, members of the East Ridge speech team performed as an intermission.

It wasn't an easy sell at first.

"Our theater person, at first, was pretty protective of their stage and what it would look like," Olson said. "One big thing was not having food in there. And, is there enough space? After we mapped it out, they got on board with it. ... We wanted to make it more of a wrestling meet so we found a way to incorporate the theater kids. He was excited about that right away."

The Coffee Shop, that was an easy sell. Outside of The Loft, screens were set up in the hall that showed what was going on during the wrestling match.

"Our adviser for the Coffee House, he was excited to be a part of it," Olson said. "It got different groups to be at other things and you could go back and forth."

There's some wrinkles that need to be ironed out before this becomes a yearly event. But the way it came together at the end, Olson seemed open to the idea.

"The way they put it all together was really cool," Olson said.