The Wyoming Valley Conference Wrestling Tournament will make history this weekend.
For the first time in its nine-year history, the event will be held on one day. The tourney was postponed from Friday and Saturday this weekend and is being consolidated into a one-day tournament on Sunday at Lake-Lehman High School.
That’s because with inclement weather on Friday — with wind chills expected to be as low as minus-20 degrees — many Wyoming Valley Conference schools will be closed. Multiple school districts have rules that if there is no school, there cannot be any after-school activities. Some of those rules even run into the following day. That left just one way to keep all 13 teams involved: run it on Sunday.
“We wanted to have every school there for a conference tournament,” said Russ Davis, the WVC Tournament Director, and Hanover Area Athletic Director. “It wouldn’t be right not having every team in it.”
Davis said that once there were conflicts for this weekend, he looked at the possibility of holding the event on another weekend, but prior engagements always arose.
Teams set their schedules in advance and are committed to participating in tournaments sometimes months in advance. Then, the District 2 Duals Tournament is set for Saturday, Feb. 3. The weekend after that, is not only the PIAA Duals Championships, but also the conference’s junior high tournament. That left just the weekend of Feb. 16-17 to hold the conference tournament, but because that is the weekend before districts, it was an unpopular choice.
“We don’t have a big enough venue to hold them both (the junior high and varsity conference tournaments) on the same day,” Davis said. “And then the weekend before districts, coaches don’t want to risk anyone getting hurt right before districts.”
The schedule for Sunday will start with weigh-ins at 8:30 a.m. Wrestling will start at 9:30 with the preliminary round, followed by the quarterfinals and consolations at 10:30 a.m. The semifinals and third round of consolations is set for noon, with the finals and third-place bouts set for approximately 3 p.m.
The only conflict that arose in the one-day scenario is that due to the rule that an athlete cannot wrestle more than five bouts in one day, and the probability of a wrestler in the wrestlebacks doing so, there were a few changes.
The top six wrestlers will still get medals like every year, but this year, the semifinal losers will now wrestle for third and fourth automatically. Everyone else in the consolation rounds could only finish as high as fifth.
Notes: The WVC Tournament has been held on Sundays twice before, in 2011 and 2014. Both times were weather-related as well. But those times, the event was also held on the Saturday… Seedings for the tourney will be released on Friday morning. They were scheduled to be released on Thursday evening, but with the schedule getting ironed out, it was pushed back.