MHSAA announces changes to state wrestling tournaments

NILES — With one week to go before the start of the Michigan High School Athletic Association state wrestling tournaments, area coaches are excited their teams will be getting a chance to compete for a state championship — both as teams and as individuals.

The coaches are even excited to learn that the championships will be hosted in Kalamazoo instead of Detroit for the individual state finals, just as the team tournament will be.

What coaches are not excited about are certain changes to the format, which could force some of their wrestlers into a lot of matches in a short period of time.

The MHSAA announced that both the team and individual state tournaments will be hosted at the Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo. The Event Center has been the host of the team state finals each of the previous two years. Normally, the individual tournament would shift to the east side of the state and Ford Field in Detroit.

However, due to a shortened season due to COVID-19, the MHSAA was forced to find a new site for the individual finals for the 2020-21 season.

The team finals, which usually are spread out over two days, will now be contested on March 30. The individual finals, also a two-day event involving all divisions, will be divided into two-day events with two divisions competing each day. The individual finals are set for April 2-3.

“We are wrestling, and no matter how we go about it, at least we are competing,” said Cassopolis Athletic Director and Assistant Coach Chad Gardner. “With a winter sports season that was so up in the air, we will take it any way we can right now. The athletes will still feel the ‘awe’ of being in the state finals. This is a special time for the athletes and their teams. Being a southwest Michigan school, I love that it is being held in Kalamazoo. This should allow more fans to make the journey as long as we stay within the seating capacity limitations.”

 

Team finals

The quarterfinals, semifinals and finals will all be hosted on March 30 at the Wings Event Center. There are two areas within the Event Center — the “Valley” and the “Arena” — which will be used for the quarterfinals and semifinals. All four championship matches will be wrestled in the “Arena.” Divisions 2 and 4 will compete in the “Arena,” while Divisions 1 and 3 will compete in the “Valley” for the quarterfinals and semifinals.

“I am glad that we have a planned final,” said Niles Coach Todd Hesson. “Much shorter trip. I’m guessing it was also affordable.”

 

Individual finals

All rounds of the finals will be hosted in one day at the Wings Event Center. Divisions 2 and 3 will wrestle on April 2, while Divisions 1 and 4 will wrestle on April 3.

Through a blind draw by the MHSAA and the Michigan Wrestling Association, which is the state coaching association for the sport, Divisions 3 and 1 will compete in the “Arena,” while Divisions 2 and 4 will compete in the “Valley.”

Teams scheduled to wrestle in the “Valley” during team quarterfinals and semifinals automatically were selected to wrestle in the “Arena” for all rounds of the individual finals.

“It will be a different experience,” said Edwardsburg Coach Jesse Becraft. “It will be nice not to have to travel as far, but it becoming a one-day tournament will also make things a little different preparation-wise. To me, the biggest thing that I am not a fan of is only one parent being able to attend, which hopefully they take another look at.”

Spectator limits for the regionals and finals will be determined locally following the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service order and will not exceed one per participant, the MHSAA announced.

Cass County

PHOTO STORY: Niles’ Reske takes home Cass County cat show title

Berrien County

Berrien County commissioners pass resolution supporting Indiana Michigan River Valley Trail project

Dowagiac

Dowagiac schools make masks optional for students, staff

Dowagiac

Ascension Borgess Lee Foundation golf outing raises $19,000

Cass County

Two injured in Howard Township crash

Cass County

Cass County Fair hosts Law Enforcement Day

Berrien County

Heroin, meth, firearms seized during search warrants in Niles, Buchanan

Cass County

PHOTO STORY: Niles teen takes home three first place wins in Cass County Fair youth horse, pony show

Dowagiac

PHOTO STORY: Dowagiac Police Department hosts National Night Out event

Berrien County

Junior Achievement of Berrien, Cass counties announces Tapas on the Green event

Cass County

PHOTO STORY: NTPA Tractor Pull wows crowd at Cass County Fair

News

Niles Riverfest begins Thursday

Cass County

Cass County Conservation district announces 2020 awards

Berrien County

Spectrum Health Lakeland Foundation awards $75,000 in scholarships, grants

Giving

Niles church nearing fundraising goal for new community playground

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 906,538 cases, 19,947 deaths

Cass County

PHOTO STORY: Dowagiac’s Stockwell named champion swine showman at Cass County Fair

Berrien County

Registration now open for Lory’s Place Run, Walk, and Rock

Berrien County

BCF Arts Challenge seeking support for Berrien County arts venues

Berrien County

Community members encouraged to donate blood, save lives

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: July 28-Aug. 2

News

Niles Township reconsiders document scanning project, rescinds special meeting vote

Giving

Niles church to host Family Fun Fest Saturday

Cass County

PHOTO STORY: Niles’ Tharp wins Cass County Youth Dairy Show