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It has come to the time of year -- once again -- where the Hays community has the chance to shine.

Not that the largest city in northwest Kansas doesn't do that on a regular basis, but beginning today, the city starts a whirlwind few weeks of playing host to thousands of visitors.

Today marks the beginning of the Class 3-2-1A state wrestling tournament at Fort Hays State University's Gross Memorial Coliseum.

More than 200 high-schoolers were scheduled to take to the mats, battling for that coveted state title. Wrestlers from all portions of the state converged on Hays, as did thousands of fans for the two-day event that wraps up Saturday.

Following quickly on the wrestling tourney's heels is the Class 1A Division II state basketball tournament, featuring 16 teams -- eight boys' squads and eight girls' teams -- trying to take home the big hardware. The basketball tournament will have many more people headed to Hays between the days of March 12 to 15.

Then comes the Kansas State Special Olympics state basketball and cheerleading tourney March 20 to 22 at GMC.

That means Hays is hopping nearly the entire next month. As one of a handful, we won't be the only city in Kansas hosting state events, allowing Hays to fight for bragging rights among other tournament towns.

When these type of community-oriented events are hosted by our great city, we have an opportunity to showcase what makes our city so grand -- from strong local businesses, to ever-so-friendly people, to our solid connection with Fort Hays State University.

As a city, we have many things to hang our hat on. One of those is being a gracious host to the tournaments that bring an abundance of dollars into Hays.

It's also a great recruiting tool for FHSU for potential students. It might be the first -- or only -- time people step foot on campus, and meeting the town and college showcasing friendly faces and a pleasant attitude could go a long way to recruit people to northwest Kansas.

We have many things to be proud of in Hays. Let's showcase that to the rest of the state during the next month.

Editorial by Nick Schwien

nschwien@dailynews.net