High school wrestling: UHSAA grants wrestling a postseason all-star meet

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 18 2012 1:51 p.m. MST

Taylon Niederhauser pins Talon Bryan in the 170-pound weight class at the Utah All-Star Wrestling Classic Monday.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — At the conclusion of every high school sports season, whether it’s a team or individual sport, it’s human nature to wonder whether the 4A champ could beat the 5A champ, or if the 3A champ could beat either.

For the wrestling community, that dream has become a reality.

The UHSAA Executive Committee has agreed to sanction a wrestling tournament the week after the state wrestling tournament, which will feature state placers from 5A through 1A all competing against each other. The two-day tournament will be held at the Maverick Center on Friday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, Feb. 23. One state champion will be crowned in all 14 weights.

The exact format of the tournament won’t be determined until the Utah Wrestling Coaches Association meeting at UVU on Jan. 8.

Two options are being considered. The first would feature the state placers from all five classifications competition against each other — which would be 28 total kids at each weight. The second option would feature just 16 wrestlers at each weight, four from 5A and 4A, three from 3A and 2A, and two from 1A.

“Utah has been and continues to be a great state for high school wrestling. This will be a great showcase for the talent we have here,” said UWCA president and Layton head coach John Fager in a statement.

The tournament will be run by USA Wrestling.

Several sports, most notably basketball and baseball, are annually granted a sanction by the UHSAA to hold postseason all-star games. They’re always senior-only events, which is what makes the wrestling all-star meet so unique. The meet is open to athletes in ninth through 12th grade.

“Wrestling seems a good fit for this type of competition,” said Bart Thompson, UHSAA assistant director over wrestling, in a press release. “There is little overlap with spring sports by the time this tournament finishes, and in fact basketball will continue for another week in several classifications.”

A former wrestling coach himself, Thompson said a postseason meet of this format has been talked about for years. He acknowledged that the involvement of USA Wrestling really helped get the meet approved.

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