The high school wresting postseason will remain postponed until Friday at the earliest, the Arizona Interscholastic Association announced Monday afternoon. Details will have to wait: The AIA said it expects to have an “informed decision” by tonight.
Sectional wrestling tournaments, scheduled for last weekend, were put on hold following an outbreak of a contagious skin disease.
“We hope that this will come to a timely resolution,” AIA executive director Chuck Schmidt said in a news release. ”We realize that this was an inconvenience and disappointment for many and yet, reducing the possible spread of infection had to take priority.”
The state championship meet was originally slated to begin Thursday at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, but it now appears the date and venue will change.
The AIA offered no details on what schools and how many wrestlers were affected. Southern Arizona coaches said they have been left in the dark since the announcement was made.
“This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard,” Amphitheater coach Sam Portillo said Monday. “Back in the day, you got on the scale, they checked your skin, and if you weren’t good to go, that was it, you were done.
“If my kids catch the flu, are they going to stop it for us?”
Tucson High’s Bobby DeBerry, who won 15 state titles in 17 seasons as Sunnyside’s coach, said he’s never seen anything similar this late in the season. He believes the sectional and state meets could have gone on as planned by using thorough skin checks at weigh-ins.
“Whatever the issue was wasn’t an overnight thing,” DeBerry said. “Canceling everything, I don’t know if that was the best thing to do. We should have let the system work.”
With the delay, it appears the state-qualifying sectionals may be scrapped. If that happens, several wrestlers from around the state would be left at home. To DeBerry, taking that route would be completely unfair.
“I’ve had kids that had a losing record and put it all together that placed at state,” DeBerry said. “I’ve had a couple have a losing record go on to win state.”
Some possible scenarios would be having brackets with 64 or 32 wrestlers, instead of 16, as originally planned. However, the issue still remains that teams don’t know when and where they will next be wrestling their biggest meet of the season.
“I don’t really know what to think; I’ve never heard of something like this,” said Sunnyside coach Anthony Leon, who is trying to lead the Blue Devils to their second straight state title. “I hope they do what is right for the sport and what is right for Arizona wrestling.”