Wrestling postseason hits a bump


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The Western Valley District has scheduled its wrestling tournament for this afternoon at 4 p.m. But the fourth district of the Northwest Region is in far better shape than its other three brethren.

Both the Cedar Run and the Cardinal Districts have yet to schedule their district tournaments and, as the hours pass, it looks less and less likely they’ll be held at all. The Commonwealth District is in much the same situation, but with a different set of challenges.

Because they’ve got only four teams, the Cardinal and Cedar Run districts have a bit more leeway than the Commonwealth. Since the top four individuals advance to regionals, the Cardinal and Cedar Run can simply submit their seedings to fill out the field at regionals — a scenario which would play out if the district tournaments are canceled.

By canceling the district tournament, the Commonwealth would eliminate the lower-seeded wrestlers from earning a chance at regionals.

“There’s a possibility that we will forego the district tournament and with four teams, we can do that. So can the Cardinal,” said Stonewall coach Kevin Turner. “But in the Commonwealth, where there’s more than four teams, it might be unfair to a kid that’s up and coming and didn’t get a seed.”

Colonial Forge coach Bill Swink said that a final decision on the tournament’s fate would be made on Wednesday.

No matter what happens between now and the weekend, the snow won’t have an effect on the regional tournament itself. Franklin County, which is hosting the regional, is also hosting the Western Valley tournament.

Another major concern is the wrestler’s weights. After five days without practice and with many gyms being closed, wrestlers have had many chances to put on weight with much less of a chance of taking it off. That’s the potentially positive side if the Commonwealth District cancels their tournament: It could keep all the district’s wrestlers from having to make weight on three consecutive days — once at districts, and twice at regionals.

The Virginia High School League usually allows a two-pound weight allowance on the first day of the regionals. That means a wrestler can weigh two pounds over his ‘scratch’ weight, the weight limit of the class the wrestler competes at. The weight allowance bumps up to three pounds on the second day of regionals.

There’s a chance this year that the weight allowance could be four pounds on the first day and five pounds on the second day. Turner said that follows the old rule for a one-pound allowance per snow day.

Pushing the tournament back, perhaps to Monday and Tuesday, is a possibility as well.

“We probably could do that,” said Franklin County activities director Tom Sawyers. “Some schools [in the region’s other districts] leaned towards that, but some said they’d have to change hotel reservations, make more hotel reservations and miss two days of school. It’s still an option, but it’s an outside option.”

“The weekend’s in the way,” said Woodbridge coach Anthony McDuffie. “It’d be nice to have it on a Monday and Tuesday … but then you’re cutting into school time.”

Sawyers added that he had been in touch with VHSL assistant director Larry Johnson, who is in charge of the state’s wrestling tournaments. According to Sawyers, Johnson said there was little chance of moving the state tournament, which is held at Oscar Smith in Chesapeake, because of a basketball commitment at Oscar Smith.

Johnson could not be reached for comment.

Since Group A’s postseason is a week behind AAA — A’s districts are held on the same weekend as AAA’s regionals — there doesn’t figure to be much of an impact on the Bull Run District tournament, which will be held on Feb. 22 at Manassas Park. But areas of the western part of the district, like Clarke County, Strasburg and Madison County, were hit hard by the weekend snow storm.

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