With the word “postponed” used in its latest announcement, the Ohio High School Athletic Association has left open the door that winter sports tournaments could still be contested.
However, wrestling coaches in Clinton County believe it’s unlikely a state wrestling tournament will happen.
“The chances of the tournament being reschedule are on the low side,” CM coach Spencer Running said.
Said Blanchester coach Ryan Shafer, “The state tournament will not be contested. It is at least three weeks of no school or any practices. That is too long of a period and not fair to all wrestlers.”
East Clinton Doug Stehlin agrees.
“I do not see the tournament being rescheduled. Telling wrestlers that we are not having practice but keep your weight down would not work,” he said.
State qualifiers such as Blanchester’s James Peters and Kadin Berwanger; East Clinton’s Jonathan Cline; and Clinton-Massie’s Colton Doyle and Robby Frederick are not the only wrestlers affected by the announcement.
The fifth-place finishers — in this case Wilmington’s Thane McCoy and Dom Davidson — in each district tournament weight class are listed as “alternates” to the state tournament. An alternate is eligible to wrestle in the state tournament if one of the four wrestlers in their district tournament weight class are not going to compete.
WHS head coach Kelly Tolliver said with school closed for a minimum of three weeks, indoor workouts on the mat or in the weight room are not allowed.
In addition, the OHSAA released a statement Friday afternoon implementing indefinitely “a no-contact period, which prohibits any coach, paid or volunteer, approved by the Board of Education to provide coaching, instruction or supervising conditioning and physical fitness programs or open gyms to members of a school team in their sport.”
The news of state tournament postponements hit hard to those wrestlers who’ve gone through the gruelling task of maintaining a certain weight while still being successful enough to earn a berth in Columbus.
“It’s tough being delivered the news that its over, but luckily Colton and Robby are very grown up about the situation,” CM coach Spencer Running said. “We know we were where we needed to be and have to be proud of what our guys accomplished up to this point. This is something that we have no control over and our guys realize that, thankfully, but it is tough not wrestling on the stage we worked for all year.”
Shafer said his coaches and wrestlers also were not happy with the news.
“I know that it was rough on the wrestlers and us coaches,” Being able to walk out of that tunnel is an experience they would never forget and now some won’t experience this. The atmosphere of the state tournament is amazing and now that won’t happen.”
Stehlin said Cline will be ready but has an alternative if things don’t work out.
“When we found out (Thursday) that it was being postponed, I told him take a couple days off from wrestling,” Stehlin said. “We can get back at it next week when we may know more information. As John is ending one season, he was also looking forward to finishing his senior year of tennis. So I told him to go outside and play some tennis with his brother Josh to take his mind off of wrestling for a little bit.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports