MOUNT VERNON — Tournament time begins early this winter, thanks to a new idea by the OHSAA.
The wrestling team dual tournament begins today across the state, with hundreds of teams competing for a team state title.
In the new format, teams will compete head to head in elimination duals. The winning teams move on, just like in team sports.
“It’s been coming for a while now,” said Danville head coach Keith Kauffman, whose team will compete today in Northmor. “They were starting this in Michigan when I left there. Twenty years later, all I’ve heard is good stuff about it.”
“It gives a lot of exposure for wrestling as a sport,” agreed Mount Vernon head coach John Brown.
Mount Vernon (Division I) drew the top seed in its region and will host today’s regional quarterfinal against Reynoldsburg at 6 p.m. If the Yellow Jackets win, they will move on to host next Wednesday’s regional semis, where they will take on Pickerington North. The winner of that dual will take on the winner of the other semifinal dual later that night.
Highland (Division II) will also host a regional quarterfinal tonight. The Scots face Shelby, with the winner moving on to the regional semis at Lexington.
Danville and Fredericktown (Division III) compete at Northmor High School today. The Freddies face Mid-Buckeye Conference rival Johnstown at 6 p.m., with the winner taking on top-seed Northmor later that night. Meantime, the Blue Devils will face North Union for the right to move on to the semis next week.
“It’s good for the kids,” said Brown. “They get another match that doesn’t count against their 20-match limit. And, they do well, then they move on.”
Centerburg, East Knox and Utica are not taking part in this year’s tournament. According to OHSAA rules, teams have to fill at least eight weight slots in order to compete.
The wrestling tournaments for individuals begin Feb. 15.
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