Several state high school wrestling tourneys have new homes in 2024

Updated: January 23, 2024

Photo: The Ford Center in Evansville, Ind., will host the 2024 Indiana state wrestling tournament, Feb. 16-17, instead of the Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, where the 2024 NBA All-Star Game will be held that weekend.

By Rob Sherrill

It’s only January, but there have been enough thrills and excitement to last a whole season … and the 2024 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 2023, the week before Christmas. Starting later this month, four states, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and New York, take center stage with the start of dual state tournaments.

Leading the parade of state tournament site changes is a state that normally doesn’t make this kind of news. For the first time since 2000, Indiana’s state tournament won’t be contested in Indianapolis’s main arena, Gainbridge Fieldhouse. The arena, which is also the home of the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, is hosting the NBA All-Star Game the same weekend, Feb. 16-17.

This column appeared in the January issue of WIN Magazine. Click on the cover or call 888-305-0606 to subscribe.

That conflict necessitated moving the wrestling tournament south to the Ford Center in Evansville. As the home of University of Evansville basketball and the minor-league hockey Evansville Thunderbolts, the Ford Center has wrestling experience. It will host the Evansville semi-state qualifying tournament the previous weekend with Evansville’s Reitz High serving as the host school. It will mark the 12th time the Ford Center has hosted the semi-state since opening in 2011.

Hawaii and Nevada are also moving to first-time host sites. The Aloha State migrates across the island of Oahu to the George Q. Cannon Events Center, on the campus of Brigham Young University-Hawaii, in Laie on Feb. 23-24.

Nevada’s state tournaments, shortened from two days to one day this year, debut at the Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse in Bullhead City on Feb. 16. The state alternates between northern and southern sites and it’s the South’s turn to host this year; Bullhead City is about 100 miles south of Las Vegas.

After a three-year hiatus that originated during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kentucky has returned to its traditional single-site state tournament format at Alltech Arena, located at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. The boys state tournament will take place on Thursday and Friday, Feb. 15-16, followed by the girls state tournament on Saturday, Feb. 17. The previous pandemic-based format saw the state tournament conducted over two weekends at high school sites.

Click here to view an entire listing of dates and locations of boys state wrestling tournaments

The National Prep Championships return to Stabler Arena at Lehigh University, the tournament’s home before the pandemic necessitated a similar move to The Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md. That facility will continue to host Maryland’s sanctioned state tournament.

Kansas, meanwhile, condensed from three state tournament sites to two. Tony’s Pizza Events Center in Salina, previously the host of the 4A state tournament, will host both the state’s smaller classifications, as Class A-2A-3A joins 4A under the same roof Feb. 22-24. Fort Hays State University had hosted the smallest classification in previous years. The state’s two largest classifications, 6A and 5A, remain at Wichita’s Park City-Hartman Arena the same weekend.

Tennessee and Utah conduct their individual state tournaments across two weekends; the only states to do so (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire conduct New England qualifying events the week following their state meets). Tennessee’s Division II, which comprises the state’s private schools, is the nation’s only group of sanctioned schools permitted by its NFHS association, the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association, to compete in the National Prep Championships.

Iowa and Missouri have expanded their individual state tournaments to four full days at the same site. All three Iowa classifications compete all four days at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, starting on Wednesday, Feb. 14. Missouri’s two smaller classes, 1 and 2, compete on Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 21-22, at the Mizzou Arena, with big-school Classes 3 and 4 competing on Friday and Saturday.

South Dakota is becoming the latest state to separate its dual and individual state series after holding them concurrently in recent seasons. Of the 23 states that host sanctioned dual and individual state tournaments, 19 complete the dual state series first, followed by the individual state series — which is the way it should be done.

Minnesota and North Dakota conduct their dual and individual state championships on the same weekend. Minnesota conducts its dual state meets first, on Thursday, Feb. 29, followed by the individual state meets on Friday and Saturday; North Dakota does the opposite, with the individual state meets on Thursday and Friday. Illinois and Wisconsin conduct the individual state tournament first, followed by the dual state meet.

Georgia remains the state with the most classifications — seven — followed by Utah and Virginia (six each) and Oregon and Washington (five each).

For eight chaotic weeks, 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. The third and fourth weekends of February have 25 and 24 season-concluding tournaments taking place, respectively.

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 Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey and West Virginia open the month with their state tournaments, along with the New England Championships.

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. Alongside this column is a list of all the state tournaments in the nation, state by state. 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.

The rest is up to you. Buy those tickets and book those reservations…then, make sure you get there!

(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.)