WEWAHITCHKA, Fla. (WMBB) — The annual Gator Brawl wrestling tournament is back in Wewahitchka with athletes all around the Panhandle competing.

18 teams took to the mat Friday for the 940 matches in two days.

“A lot of different coaching styles of how they coach their wrestlers,” Wewahitcka wrestling coach Tracy Malcolm said. “A lot of different techniques that you don’t get to see in the practice room. So having these competitions is instrumental in having not just my kids, but every kid out here on the mat learn different styles and techniques that you just do not get in the wrestling room.”

The tournament allows wrestlers to see many opponents, get reps in and boost their individual state rankings before the postseason.

“The Gator Brawl really brings them here,” Wewahitchka senior wrestler Conner Roberts said. “They know it’s great competition. They know they’ll get a lot of matches.”

With district competition just a couple of weeks away, this is the time of the season wrestlers use to their advantage, scouting opponents they may face when the season is on the line.

“You get a good measure of how you do against them what you need to work on,” Roberts said. “And it gives the coaches a good measure of how to seed them in the district tournaments.”

The first five rounds took place on Friday and the tournament will wrap up on Saturday.