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State wrestling pushed back to late Friday start

Published Feb. 21 at 1:31 p.m. | Last updated Feb. 21 at 1:33 p.m.

This week’s winter storm has drastically changed this weekend’s state high school wrestling tournaments and has coaches talking about adapting.

The tournaments’ starts have been bumped back six hours and semifinals are now Saturday morning. Championship, third-place matches and fifth-place matches will run simultaneously at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

“The team that can handle these changes, take care of business a bit will be the team that has a better chance of being successful,” Derby coach Bill Ross said. “…. The more you can adjust to these changes and keep calm, you’re better off.”

The wrestlers will be given a one-pound allowance for weigh-ins.

The Kansas State High School Activities Association decided to have the championship matches at the same time as third place and fifth place as a way to get fans home earlier. Championship matches usually conclude tournaments by themselves.

“We want to get them back on the road before the next snow on Sunday,” said Mark Lentz, KSHSAA assistant executive director.

The time schedule is the bigger issue, though, because wrestlers are used to having semifinals the night before, even during regular-season tournaments.

“It will be quite an adjustment,” Ross said. “It will be a little different, but we will have to see how they recover.”

Heights coach Mike Church added: “It could change some things, but wrestling is wrestling. Wrestlers adapt well.”

Manhattan coach Robert Gonzalez brought his team to its hotel in Newton on Wednesday, a day ahead of their usual travel schedule.

He’s focused on keeping structure to the schedule, so they had a morning workout and planned an afternoon practice at Newton High.

“We’re here to wrestle, and we’re ready to wrestle, but there are other teams that can’t arrive and get her until (Friday),” Gonzalez said. “My feeling is, you start the state tournament without them? No. You accommodate so everyone is on a fair playing field, they all weigh in at the same time.”

STATE WRESTLING SCHEDULE

WHERE: 6A, 5A at Hartman Arena, Park City; 4A at Bicentennial Center, Salina; 3-2-1A at Gross Coliseum, Hays

FRIDAY: First round, 4 p.m., followed by first-round consolation and championship quarterfinals

SATURDAY: Semifinals, 9 a.m.; championship, third-place and fifth-place matches, 2:30 p.m.