IHSAA Ending Team Wrestling Tournament

November 8, 2011 / Wrestling
Indianapolis Star, Michael Pointer


The Indiana High School Athletic Association announced Monday it is scrapping the team-wrestling tournament following this season.

IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox has publicly expressed concerns about the event for more than a year, the most significant being declining attendance and the fact some coaches refused to allow their top wrestlers to participate in it so they could perform better in the individual tournament, which is held concurrently.

“If I’ve got to intervene and lean on someone to send their varsity to an IHSAA tournament event, it’s not a very good event,’ he said.

The decision didn’t sit well with Perry Meridian coach Jim Tonte, who has led the Falcons to the eight-team state finals in 10 of the past 12 years and their first state title in February.

“I don’t see in anyway that this is a positive,’ he said. “We can name kid after kid in our program that was successful after being the fourth- or fifth-best in their weight class at the school, yet they stayed with wrestling because of the team tournament.’

Center Grove coach Cale Hoover, who finished his term as president of the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association earlier this year, said he had mixed emotions about the news.

“I think if we had done a two- or three-class state tournament, it would have been amazing for the sport,’ he said. “If you had brought in some of the small schools and put on a team event like that, it would have helped grow wrestling in smaller communities.’

Hoover said he was pleased, however, that the IHSAA told the coaches association it would assist it in setting up a team tournament of its own. He said the coaches hope to stage a one-day event sometime in January with either a two- or three-class format.

Before the first team state tournament in 1996, the IHSAA determined the state champion on a points basis at the individual state finals — a system it will revert to again in 2013. Under that system, Crown Point would have been last year’s state champion with Indian Creek — one of the state’s smaller wrestling schools — finishing a close second.

Cox said technology now allows real-time scores to be posted, which the IHSAA thinks will make it more exciting for fans. Points were posted at the end of each round in the years before the implementation of the team tournament.

Cox said the IHSAA surveyed all the principals, athletic directors and wrestling coaches at the 309-member schools that sponsor the sport. A majority supports the decision, he said.

“That was the determining factor,’ he said.

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