The TSSAA State Wrestling Championship scheduled for later this week in Chattanooga has been postponed until next week due to the ongoing rugged weather conditions plaguing most of the state and region.
The TSSAA announced the move Monday afternoon.
“A significant portion of our state has been impacted by snow and ice making travel extremely hazardous and, in some cases, impossible,” The TSSAA said.
The tournament, which was to begin Thursday at the Chattanooga Convention Center, has been shifted to next week. Wrestlers will converge in Chattanooga Wednesday through Friday, Feb 24-26, at the same tournament site instead of this week.
“Temperatures in Middle and West Tennessee are not expected to reach freezing over the next couple of days so it is unlikely that conditions will improve this week,” the TSSAA indicated. “Additional ice and snow is in the forecast for these areas on Wednesday and Thursday, which makes it very likely that many participating schools would not be able to attend the TSSAA Wrestling State Championships.”
More than two dozen Class AAA wrestlers will participate in the state tournament, with wrestlers from Fairview and Nolensville geared up for the Class A-AA tourney as well as area grapplers from local Division II schools.
Class A-AA wrestlers will take to the mats next Wednesday, while Division II and girls state championships begin next Thursday. Class AAA will close out the wrestling season next Friday.
Page wrestling coach Benji Gray said he “applauds” the move by the TSSAA. The Patriots are sending five to state and Gray said the move alleviates some of the pressure being felt to not only get to Chattanooga amidst the conditions, but make up for lost practice time because of school closings.
“Middle Tennessee A/AA teams would have had to compete with little to no practice on Thursday under the weather restrictions currently,” he said. “This year’s tournament is already more challenging with limited participants so each wrestler much be prepared physically, mentally and emotionally in order to compete against the state’s best.”
Gray said the extra time will help his wrestlers better gear up for the state stage after just competing Saturday in the regional.
Summit coach Pete Miller, who qualified 10 wrestlers for the state stage, admitted that his kids might not want to worry about their weight for another week, but the extra time to prepare is helpful.
“No matter what, we are just grateful to still be having a tournament no matter what,” said Miller, whose team won the Region 7-AAA championship on Saturday. “We have 10 wrestlers chomping at the bit. They’ve all been preparing for this since August and September and having another week of being able to prepare is good.
“We will try not to over-analyze the brackets just released today and just go in and take it one match at a time.”
The Class AAA tournament was already cut in half from a 32-man bracket to 16 to better accommodate the COVID-19 protocols in place. The tournament was also moved back to Chattanooga after more than a decade of being hosted locally at the Williamson County Ag Expo Center in Franklin.
The Franklin site is a COVID-19 testing facility and the decision to move the tournament back to Chattanooga was made last month after 12 years of being hosted locally.
The full revised schedule can be found at TSSAAsports.com.