Welcome to Day 4 of WIN Magazine’s countdown to the 2023 Final...
State high school tournaments are back … and bigger than ever
Photo: Ford Field, the home of the Detroit Lions in the NFL, will play host to the Michigan state high school wrestling championships, March 4-5.
By Rob Sherrill
There have been enough thrills and excitement to last a whole season already. And the 2022 state tournaments haven’t even started yet.
But they will – and sooner than you think. In fact, one’s already in the books.
Alaska started the state tournament parade in 2021, the week before Christmas. Starting in January, four states, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and New York, take center stage with the start of dual state tournaments.
A total 22 state associations, nearly half the nation, now conduct both an individual and a dual state series. In the span of six days, starting on Feb. 19, Maine conducts its individual state tournaments, its dual state tournaments, and its New England Championships qualifier. That’s a lot of very meaningful wrestling in a very compressed period. A week after the qualifier concludes, the New England Championships begins down the coast, in Rhode Island.
Four states conduct their dual and individual championships on the same weekend, but only South Dakota now conducts the two events concurrently.
Iowa and Minnesota conduct their dual championships first, followed by the individual state meets. North Dakota is doing the opposite at the iconic FargoDome – the individual state tournaments on Thursday and Friday, followed by the dual state meets on Saturday.
The best news is that most states plan to return to their large civic facilities, using the schedules that were commonplace through 2020. Many were scrapped last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is ongoing.
Yet Michigan is returning to Ford Field, the home of the NFL’s Detroit Lions; Colorado takes all four classes back to Ball Arena, the home of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche and the NBA’s Denver Nuggets; Tennessee returns two of its three tournaments to the Williamson County Agricultural Center in Franklin, used as a COVID testing facility a year ago; and Ohio’s state meet returns to the massive Jerome Schottenstein Center at Ohio State University in Columbus.
Even Washington, one of the states that did not conduct a state tournament at all in 2021, is reinstating its Mat Classic at the Tacoma Dome.
The only state without a confirmed date or site is Hawaii, which also did not conduct a state tournament in 2021. One of the states with the highest COVID rates, the Aloha State, which requires both student-athletes and coaches to be fully vaccinated or to produce proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours of a competition, did not complete its football state championship games until Dec. 30.
However, some significant changes in format and location remain. Most stem from the trend to limit the number of classifications, as measured by competitors or spectators, in a facility where possible. (Today, in the Mid-Atlantic and surrounding areas, spectator limits of two per competitor, not to mention masks when not wrestling, remain common.)
No longer will Kentucky conduct a 32-man, single-classification state tournament, as the state did for several years at the Alltech Horse Park Arena in Frankfort, the state capital. The Kentucky High School Athletic Association is retaining the semi-state level that it added to the state series in 2021.
The top four qualifiers from the state’s four western regions (1-4) head to one semi-state site and the top four from its four eastern sites (5-8) to the other, creating two 16-man brackets. The top eight finishers from each semi-state advance to a 16-man state final bracket Feb. 25-26 at George Rogers Clark High School in Winchester. In 2021, semi-state team scores were carried over to the state final, even though it was possible for a wrestler who lost in the semi-state meet to win a state title (only one of the 14 state champions did so in 2021, however).
Georgia is downsizing its state duals from a two-day, single-site event at the Macon Centreplex to one-day events at seven separate high school sites. The number of teams also has been cut in half, with only the region champion competing in each classification. Nevada and Oregon, meanwhile, will conduct its state tournaments at separate high school sites for each classification.
Georgia remains the state with the most classifications – seven – followed by Virginia (six) and Oregon, Utah and Washington (five each).
For six chaotic weeks, 48 states with state-sanctioned wrestling programs – plus the National Prep Championships, the New England Championships and a handful of non-sanctioned independent school state meets – will put it on the line. Twenty-six states conduct season-ending tournaments on the third weekend in February, the most common weekend. The final weekend of February sees 19 more state tournaments and the National Prep Championships take place.
Pennsylvania and Ohio bring down the curtain on the high school season, the second weekend in March. Pennsylvania conducts its tournament Thursday through Saturday, Ohio Friday through Sunday. That’s a week after Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey and West Virginia open the month with their state tournaments, along with the New England Championships.
However, Ohio loses its dual state tournament for the second straight year, once again a victim of budget cuts by the Ohio High School Athletic Association. The Ohio High School Wrestling Coaches Association will conduct a dual state meet for the second year in a row.
2022 State-by-State High School Postseason Tournaments • Dates and Sites
Want to know when and where your favorite team — or wrestler — will be competing for a state title? Then you’ve come to the right place. The following is a list of all the state tournaments in the nation, state by state, as well as the National Preps tournament. A single date and site given is for an all-class tournament. Some states split the classes by site or date, which will be listed as applicable.
|Alabama: Dual finals, Jan. 21 at Birmingham CrossPlex; Individual, Feb. 17-19 at the Von Braun Center, Huntsville.|
|Alaska: Dec. 17-18, 2021 at Alaska Airlines Center, Anchorage.|
|Arizona: Feb. 17-19 at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix.|
|Arkansas: Feb. 17-19 at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock.|
|California: Feb. 24-26 at Mechanics Bank Arena, Bakersfield.|
|Colorado: Feb. 17-19 at the Ball Arena, Denver.|
|Connecticut: LL, Feb. 18-19 at Trumbull HS; L, Feb. 18-19 at Guilford HS; M, Feb. 18-19 at site TBA; S, Feb. 18-19 at Killingly HS, Danielson; State Open, Feb. 25-26 at Floyd Little Athletic Center, James Hillhouse HS, New Haven.|
|Delaware: Dual semifinals and finals, Feb. 12 at Smyrna HS; Individual, Feb. 25-26 at Cape Henlopen HS, Lewes.|
|Florida: Dual, Jan. 21-22 at Osceola HS, Kissimmee; Individual, Mar. 3-5 at Silver Spurs Arena, Kissimmee.|
|Georgia: Dual, 7A, Jan. 22 at Lambert HS, Suwanee; 6A, Jan. 22 at Brunswick HS; 5A, Jan. 22 at McDonough HS; 4A, Jan. 22 at LaGrange HS; 3A, Jan. 22 at Stephens County HS, Toccoa; 2A, Jan. 22 at Bremen HS; 1A, Jan. 22 at Commerce HS; Individual, Feb. 10-12 at the Macon Centreplex; Independent, Feb. 3-4 at Georgia Southwestern University, Americus.|
|Hawaii: Will be held in March; date and site TBA.|
|Idaho: Feb. 25-26 at Holt Arena, Pocatello.|
|Illinois: Individual, Feb. 17-19 at the University of Illinois, Champaign; Dual, Feb. 25-26 at Grossinger Motors Arena, Bloomington.|
|Indiana: Feb. 18-19 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis.|
|Iowa: Feb. 16-19 at Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines.|
|Kansas: 6A and 5A, Feb. 25-26 at Park City-Hartman Arena, Wichita; 4A, Feb. 25-26 at Tony’s Pizza Events Center, Salina; A-2A-3A, Feb. 25-26 at Fort Hays State University, Hays.|
|Kentucky: Feb. 25-26 at George Rogers Clark HS, Winchester.|
|Louisiana: Feb. 11-12 at Raising Cane’s River Center, Baton Rouge.|
|Maine: Individual, Feb. 19 at sites TBA; Dual, Feb. 22 at sites TBA; New England Championships qualifier, Feb. 25 at site TBA.|
|Maryland: National Prep qualifier, Feb. 18-19 at McDonogh School, Owings Mills; Public Dual, Feb. 12 at North Point HS, Waldorf; Public Individual, Mar. 3-5 at The Show Place Arena, Upper Marlboro.|
|Massachusetts: Division I, Feb. 18-19 at Methuen HS; Division II, Feb. 18-19 at Milton HS; Division III, Feb. 18-19 at Wayland HS; All-State, Feb. 25-26 at St. John’s Prep HS, Danvers.|
|Michigan: Dual, Feb. 25-26 at Wings Event Center, Kalamazoo; Individual, Mar. 4-5 at Ford Field, Detroit.|
|Minnesota: Mar. 3-5 at the Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul.|
|Missouri: Feb. 17-19 at the University of Missouri, Columbia.|
|Montana: Feb. 11-12 at MetraPark Arena, Billings.|
|National Prep: Feb. 25-26 at the DC Armory, Washington, DC.|
|Nebraska: Dual, Feb. 5 at the University of Nebraska, Kearney; Individual, Feb. 17-19 at CHI Health Center Arena, Omaha.|
|Nevada: 5A, Feb. 18-19 at Cimarron-Memorial HS, Las Vegas; 4A, Feb. 18-19 at Ed W. Clark HS, Las Vegas; 3A, Feb. 19 at Boulder City HS; A-2A, Feb. 19 at The Meadows School, Las Vegas.|
|New England: Prep Schools, Feb. 18-19 at Avon Old Farms School, Avon, CT; Sanctioned, Mar. 4-5 at Providence Career and Technical Academy, Providence, RI.|
|New Hampshire: Division I, Feb. 19 at Londonderry HS; Division II, Feb. 19 at Goffstown HS; Division III, Feb. 19 at Bow HS; Meet of Champions, Feb. 26 at Nashua South HS.|
|New Jersey: Dual finals, Feb. 13 at Franklin HS, Somerset; Individual, Mar. 3-5 at the Boardwalk Convention Center, Atlantic City.|
|New Mexico: Feb. 18-19 at the Rio Rancho Events Center, Rio Rancho.|
|New York: Dual, Jan. 29 at SRC Arena and Events Center, Syracuse; Individual, Feb. 25-26 at MVP Arena, Albany.|
|North Carolina: Independent, Feb. 18-19 at site TBA; Dual finals, Feb. 5 at competing school sites; Individual, Feb. 17-19 at the Greensboro Coliseum.|
|North Dakota: Feb. 17-19 at the FargoDome.|
|Ohio: Mar. 11-13 at the Ohio State University (Schottenstein Center), Columbus.|
|Oklahoma: Dual, Feb. 14-15 at the Stride Bank Center, Enid; Individual, Feb. 25-26 at the Oklahoma City Fairgrounds Arena.|
|Oregon: 6A, date TBA at Sandy HS; 5A, Feb. 26 at Ridgeview HS, Redmond; 4A, Feb. 26 at Cascade HS, Turner; 3A, Feb. 26 at La Pine HS; A-2A, Feb. 26 at Culver HS.|
|Pennsylvania: Independent, Feb. 18-19 at site TBA; Dual, Feb. 10-12 at the Giant Center, Hershey; Individual, Mar. 10-12 at the Giant Center, Hershey.|
|Rhode Island: Feb. 18-19 at the Providence Career and Technical Academy.|
|South Carolina: Independent Dual, Feb. 5 at Ben Lippen School, Columbia; Independent Individual, Feb. 12 at Sumter County Civic Center; Public Dual Finals, Feb. 12 at Dreher HS, Columbia; Public Individual, Feb. 25-26 at the Anderson Sports and Entertainment Center.|
|South Dakota: Feb. 24-26 at the Denny Sanford Premier Center, Sioux Falls.|
|Tennessee: Dual, Feb. 5 at the Williamson County Agricultural Center, Franklin; Division II, Feb. 18-19 at Montgomery Bell Academy, Nashville; Division I, Feb. 24-26 at the Williamson County Agricultural Center, Franklin.|
|Texas: Independent, Feb. 5 at St. Thomas HS, Houston; TAPPS, Feb. 12 at site TBA; Public, Feb. 18-19 at the Berry Center, Cypress.|
|Utah: 1A and 2A, Feb. 11-12 at the Sevier Valley Center, Richfield; 3A, Feb. 15-16 at the Sevier Valley Center, Richfield; 5A, Feb. 15-16 at Utah Valley State University, Orem; 4A and 6A, Feb. 18-19 at Utah Valley State University, Orem.|
|Vermont: Feb. 25-26 at site TBA.|
|Virginia: Independent, Feb. 18-19 at Benedictine College Preparatory, Richmond; 4A, 5A and 6A, Feb. 18-19 at the Virginia Beach Sports Center; 1A, 2A and 3A, Feb. 18-19 at the Salem Civic Center.|
|Washington: Feb. 18-19 at the Tacoma Dome.|
|West Virginia: Dual, Feb. 4-5 at the State Fairgrounds, Fairlea; Individual, Mar. 3-5 at Mountain Health Arena, Huntington.|
|Wisconsin: Individual, Feb. 24-26 at the University of Wisconsin (Kohl Center), Madison; Dual, Mar. 4-5 at the University of Wisconsin (UW Field House), Madison.|
|Wyoming: Feb. 25-26 at the Casper Events Center.|
(A native of Chicago’s south suburbs, Rob Sherrill has been covering high school wrestling on the national level since 1978 and has served as WIN’s high school columnist since 1997.)