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Wrestling: Bad weather could create some sectional controversies

The heavy snows that are anticipated through Friday could end up affecting many of this weekend’s sectional wrestling tournaments in a big way.

In a memo that was posted on the Illinois Matmen website from IHSA Assistant Executive Director Sam Knox that also went to the sectional managers, two plans were presented.

The first option called for host schools to do everything that they could to run the sectionals as they originally were scheduled, with a
4:30 p.m. Friday session followed by two more Saturday sessions.

If teams are not able to make it to the sectional tournament because of weather concerns, their wrestlers will forfeit all matches in the competition.

But if a two-day tournament isn’t possible because of the weather, then the other plan is to conduct the entire sectional Saturday in two sessions.

If the latter scenario is implemented, which could happen in most of the sectionals in the northern part of the state, wrestlers will get a one-pound allowance for that day.

But more importantly, there’s a very good chance that one or both of the competitors who reach the third-place match will have wrestled in five matches to reach that point.

According to the National Federation of High Schools rules, no one can compete in six matches in a one-day tournament. So, while both still will advance to state, the IHSA will have to come up with criteria to determine who gets what place if both wrestle in five matches.

The Class 3A Alton Sectional, where nearly all of our large schools will wrestle, doesn’t figure to be affected by the anticipated snowstorm, the other three large-school sites very well could be. Others hosting 3A sectionals are Barrington, Hinsdale Central and Larkin. The latter school already has announced that it will conduct a one-day tournament.

It’s a similar story in Class 2A where sectionals at Hinsdale South, Grayslake Central and Sycamore could be affected, while the tournament at Lincoln should go as scheduled.

Half of the Class 1A sectionals also could be affected, with those meets at Chicago’s Hope Academy and Oregon the most vulnerable, while meets at Olympia and Vandalia likely can be held over two days. Most of the area’s Class 1A teams will be competing at Olympia, which is in Stanford, located west of Bloomington-Normal.

If individuals can’t make it to a sectional because of weather-related issues, it appears that the competition will go on without them with their seasons ending with forfeits, a decision that clearly won’t go over well for schools that have to make long sectional trips.

We’ve had a lot of snowy and cold sectional weekends over the years, but I don’t recall a situation like the one that very easily could involve half the state’s sectional meets.

I am heading to Alton to see the 3A tournament. Minooka leads local teams there with 12 qualifiers, while Lockport has 10, Providence Catholic and Lincoln-Way West advanced nine each, Lincoln-Way East has eight qualifiers, Plainfield South advanced seven and Plainfield Central qualified five. A total of 78 individuals from area schools will take part in that event in the St. Louis area.

In Class 2A, Lemont takes nine individuals to the Hinsdale South Sectional, while Morris has seven of the 11 area qualifiers at the Sycamore Sectional. In Class 1A, Coal City has nine qualifiers to lead the 19 local qualifiers at Olympia, and Seneca advanced 10 to the Oregon Sectional.

The top-four finishers at each weight advance to next week’s IHSA finals at the University of Illinois State Farm Center in Champaign, which runs Thursday to Saturday.

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