This could all end up working out very well.
At least that’s the consensus among wrestling coaches around the state, who have long advocated for 32-person Mat Classic brackets.
All wrestling regionals around the state were cancelled on Saturday due to the impending inclement weather, the WIAA announced early Friday morning. The 4A Regional in Camas will whittle down to the eight qualifiers on Friday. It’s the only 16-person regional field and the only meet that takes place over two days, The Columbian reported.
Mat Classic XXXI will feature 32-person brackets starting on Friday, Feb. 15, at the Tacoma Dome.
“There’s some things that could be beneficial; there’s some things that could not be,” said Kelso coach and athletic director Bob Freund, who is also the Washington State Wrestling Coaches Association executive board president. “It’ll actually be nice. We’ve looked at a 32-man bracket for awhile. It will be a great trial for us to see how it goes.”
The 32-person bracket, and one less postseason meet, has been pitched in recent years as coaches have tried to advocate for a dual-meet state tournament to determine the team champion.
This year, district champions and prior state criteria will be used to seed the tournaments, similar to the way it was done with regional champions. The only downside is for new wrestlers “particularly at some of the lighter weights” who don’t have prior state criteria but are ranked highly in their weight classes. “If they were regional champions, they could be separated. Now, they could end up together,” Freund said.
Freund advocated for sticking with the “split-day” format on Friday. The plan was to break the classifications into two groups and run a morning session and an evening session to limit time at the Tacoma Dome for spectators and wrestlers.
“There’s so much business in Tacoma on Friday, so trying to find parking is difficult,” Freund said. “With even more wrestlers, it’s even more important we stick with a split-day on Friday.”
Freund said with TrackWrestling aiding with mat assignments and eight mats going for each classification, the split-day would still be able to cut a 32-person field to an eight-person field in five hours. The only major concern for Freund was the newly remodeled Tacoma Dome’s viewing experience for fans.
The mat layout will be the same, but “we won’t know what we’re dealing with until we set them up” as far as the spectator experience goes, he said. There’s no longer stairs from the bleachers directly onto the stadium floor, and the front-row seats are now 16 feet up rather than 8. There’s concern that the outer mats will be hard to see.
2A basketball: Mark Morris’ boys’ basketball game with Tumwater has moved again. The Southwest 2A District Tournament game is now scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday. The Woodland girls’ district home game against Black Hills also moved to 2 p.m. Saturday. A final call will be made by 11 a.m. Saturday if those games are still a go.
Woodland athletic director Paul Huddleston said there was potential for the Beavers to play on Sunday if the game was not able to be played Saturday.
3A basketball: The Kelso boys’ game vs. Wilson has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Kelso High School. The girls’ will play the loser of Wilson and Peninsula at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday at Foss as originally scheduled. Athletic directors are working behind the scenes for alternative plans if the weather persists through next week.
2B basketball: The Saturday schedules for the boys’ and girls’ Southwest 2B District Tournament were announced Friday morning. All games are scheduled for Saturday as originally planned. Ilwaco and Toledo’s girls will start play at 1 p.m. at Montesano, followed by the Ilwaco and Kalama boys (2:30 p.m.), Ocosta and Chief Leschi boys (4 p.m.) and Life Christian and Winlock boys (5:30 p.m.). At Rochester, the slate begins with the Wahkiakum girls (2:30 p.m.), and continues with the Toutle Lake and Willapa Valley boys (4 p.m.), the Willapa Valley and Rainier girls (5:30 p.m.) and the Toledo and Napavine boys (7 p.m.).
Swimming: The second day of the 2A district swimming at Dick Mealy Memorial Pool was cancelled, and finals were ran on Friday. The same is true for the 3A/4A district meet at Gaither Pool.
College basketball: Lower Columbia’s games at Centralia have been moved up to 2 p.m. for the women and 4 p.m. for the men on Saturday.
Follow @JTHart23 on Twitter for updates to the schedule as TDN receives them.