Wrestling coaches have mixed reaction to postponement of state championships

Most of the state’s wrestling coaches are supportive of the GHSA’s plans for rescheduling the Team Duals, even though it may present logistical challenges for some member schools.

The state championship event in Macon was postponed from this weekend until Feb. 25-26 because of safety concerns related to travel and school closings. Under the new setup, the Team Duals will be held one week after wrestling’s other state championship tournament, the Traditionals at Gwinnett Arena on Feb. 18-19.

Also, because of scheduling conflicts with the Macon Centreplex, the Team Duals will be moved — likely to five different facilities across the state, one per classification.

“I don’t really like the tournament being moved until after the Traditionals, but the GHSA didn’t have a lot of options,” said Collins Hill High’s Josh Stephen, coach of the three-time defending state champions.

“I’m just glad it wasn’t canceled altogether, so I’ll take the week after, if that’s what it has to be. It’s a very important event [to the kids], and we must have the tournament.”

Lassiter High coach Steve Day strongly supports the postponement because of the need for safe transportation. He also says the new dates will equalize preparations for the event, which was not possible with all the school closings this week. “Every team will have the same practice time [in advance],” Day said.

The GHSA studied several options with the Team Duals, but ultimately decided it was in the best interests to extend the high school wrestling season by one week.

“We looked at other dates in Macon, but there were conflicts,” the GHSA’s Gary Phillips said. “The other thing is, we know a lot of schools have big wrestling tournaments over the next few weeks [during the regular season] that are big money raisers for the programs. So our window of opportunity was small.”

The GHSA expects to announce new sites later next week.

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