Changes coming to state wrestling tournaments

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The absence of cheerleaders will be just one of several changes coming to the state wrestling tournaments this year.

BOONE — The Iowa High School Athletic Association announced Thursday their intention to hold the State Dual Team and traditional State Wrestling Tournament Feb. 17-20 at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

While the dates have not changed — Dual Team is Feb. 17, the traditional tourney Feb. 18-20 — the COVID pandemic is forcing several adjustments. Chief among these will be a restriction on attendance and an increase in admission price.

The traditional tournament has averaged over 75,000 spectators over the eight sessions, but each session this year will be limited to 4,000 fans. Seating will be in reserved blocks, and some changes to participant procedures will be enacted. Additionally, cheerleaders will not be participating in any session of the traditional tournament.

A total of 672 wrestlers from over 200 competing schools, spread among three classes, will earn invitations to the traditional tournament.

In a statement released Thursday, the IHSAA explained that “Due to restricted capacity and to offer participating wrestlers an opportunity to remain at the event” admission prices will be raised for all sessions. Ticket prices for sessions 1-7 (which includes the Saturday afternoon consolation finals) will be $15 while session 8 (Saturday evening championships) will rise to $20 each.

Finalized details on admissions and other issues will be announced as they are decided and will, according to the IHSAA, “conform to all existing health guidelines and protocols.”

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