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Wrestlers may get to skip regionals

WIAA board to discuss schedule in wake of COVID-case increase

PASCO — Wrestlers may lose a regional tournament and qualify directly for the state Mat Classic tournament if a proposal before the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association is approved later this week.

On Tuesday, WIAA spokesman Casey Johnson confirmed the proposal will be taken up by the association’s governing board sometime this week.

An actual meeting has yet to be planned.

“The board is looking to make the decision this week,” Johnson said. “The proposal is to eliminate regionals.”

Eliminating regional tournaments would mean that wrestlers would qualify for state at their district or sub-regional tournament.

Unlike the previous time the WIAA canceled regionals, the Mat Classic this time would be set for 16-man or 12-man brackets.

East district’s allocation would be determined following a board decision to cancel regionals and give wrestlers a two-week window to help alleviate coronavirus shutdowns.

Johnson’s mirror a Wrestling Coaches Association proposal to give athletes a better window to recover before the state Mat Classic tournament occurs in the Tacoma Dome on Feb. 18-19.

The Mat Classic brings all school classifications from B to 4A and girls under one roof for the state’s largest wrestling tournament each year.

“As I understand it, the Wrestling Coaches Association has made a proposal to alter the timing of the qualifying tournaments to hopefully minimize the effect of COVID on wrestlers going to state,” Lind-Ritzville/Sprague Athletic Director Greg Whitmore said Monday. “We are gathering more information in the next couple days before taking official action.”

Whitmore is a director on the WIAA executive board.

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Roger Harnack, Publisher

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Roger Harnack is the co-owner/publisher of Free Press Publishing. Having grown up Benton City, Roger is an award-winning journalist, photographer, editor and publisher. He's one of only two editorial/commentary writers from Washington state to ever receive the international Golden Quill. Roger is dedicated to the preservation of local media, and the voice it retains for Eastern Washington.


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